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Another Example of a Suspended Attorney Behaving Badly as a Paralegal

When an attorney has his or her license to practice law indefinitely suspended for multiple acts of misconduct, it usually means those acts were pretty bad. Minor missteps are often handled with a reprimand from the Bar, a temporary suspension with a definite time limit, and/or some sort of required participation in counseling or trust account management programs.

Because of the sensitive and confidential nature of legal work, and the easy access to other people’s money, I’ve never thought anyone with a history of legal or criminal misconduct would be a good candidate for employment by law firms, especially if they’re going to be anywhere near the employer’s business and trust accounts.

But, eh, maybe that’s just me.


But maybe it’s now also a Mansfield, Ohio law firm that employed a suspended lawyer as a paralegal, one who later entered no-contest pleas to felony charges of theft and forgery for helping himself to more than $10,500 from the firm’s trust account. Perhaps the previous indefinite suspension of his law license for failure to properly represent 15 clients and then failing to cooperate with disciplinary authorities should have been a clue that he’d be a less than ideal paralegal.

The Mansfield News Journal reports that the suspended attorney turned thieving paralegal was permanently disbarred today by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Yep, another example of why suspended and disbarred attorneys generally don’t need to work in law offices as legal staffers with access to sensitive client information and large amounts of other people’s money.

Source:  The Mansfield News Journal

2 Responses to Another Example of a Suspended Attorney Behaving Badly as a Paralegal

  1. I have had considerable experience with offender reentry, and even read a profile of a legal professional here on your blog regarding a rehabilitated young man who spent 10 years in Federal prison and was going onto law school. I do not think that a past history with the law should mean that there will be a future history.

    Given what I know about bar admission in Ohio (I live in Ohio), the former attorney at issue in this matter likely had NO past history of any malfeasance. There would have been fitness for duty and character interviews by practicing attorneys. This person was just a bad apple and I don't think that it should spoil the chances for anyone truly wanting to make a change for the better from working in the law.

    Just my two cents!

    Sharon

  2. @Sharon, I love readers' two cents. I'm here to start a conversation, not have everyone agree with me 🙂

    I do agree there are exceptions to every rule, which is why I said "generally." The individual situation should definitely be taken into consideration. But I think 15 cases of client mismanagement *and* failing to cooperate with authorities says a lot about a person's character, or lack thereof.

    As for the terrific person with the criminal history now going to law school, that history would prevent him from being admitted to the bar in some (but not all) states. He's a really special case.

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Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

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Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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