Archive | Lawyer’s Duty to Supervise

‘Law Firm’ Discipline and Other Noteworthy Cases; Attorney Discipline

The trend toward leniency in Second Department escrow fund misappropriation cases, which I identified in a previous column,1 continued in Matter of Francis.2 In the Francis case, the respondent Marc A. Francis admitted that he received $10,000 in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of a client, but then drew approximately 14 checks and made additional transfers against […]

Reprinted with permission from the February 4, 2015 edition of the New York Law Journal ©2015  ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382 – reprints@alm.com or visit www.almreprints.com.

  1. Hal R. Lieberman, “Recent Developments in Disciplinary Case Law,” NYLJ, Nov. 10, 2014.
  2. 117 A.D.3d 212 (2d Dept. 2014).
  3. 116 A.D.3d 13 (2d Dept. 2014).
  4. In 1996, New York, by adding “or law firm” to the introductory phrase of DR 1-102, became the first jurisdiction in the United States-and still, with New Jersey, one of only two-that subjects law firms as entities to professional discipline.
  5. 118 A.D.3d 54 (2d Dept. 2014).

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The ‘Galasso’ Case and the Duty of Supervision

On Feb. 21, 2012, a unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, Second Department, suspended a Long Island attorney, Peter J. Galasso of Galasso, Langione, Catterson & LoFrumento, for two years due to his failure to adequately supervise his brother, who stole $4 million from the firm’s client escrow account.1 The decision has since garnered a […]

Reprinted with permission from the May 30, 2012 edition of the New York Law Journal ©2012 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382 – reprints@alm.com or visit www.almreprints.com.

  1. Matter of Galasso, 94 A.D.3d 30 (2d Dept. 2012).
  1. See Karger, the Powers of the New York Court of Appeals, Scope of Review, §2(b), p. 10 (3d ed. 1997). The Court of Appeals generally is a court of limited jurisdiction. That jurisdiction is further limited with respect to disciplinary matters due to New York’s unique Constitutional scheme, in which the Appellate Divisions are designated courts of original jurisdiction for disciplinary cases. As a matter of comity, the Court of Appeals rarely hears discipline matters. Those cases it does hear involve very significant questions of law or of due process.
  2. Affirmation of Matthew Lee-Renert for the Grievance Committee for the Ninth Judicial District, Opposing Application for Leave to Appeal and for Stay of Enforcement.
  3. Matter of Linn, 200 A.D.2d 4 (2d Dept. 1994); Matter of Sykes, 150 A.D.2d 126 (2d Dept. 1989); Matter of Pollack, 142 A.D.2d 386 (1st Dept. 1989); Matter of Ponzini, 259 A.D.2d 142 (2d Dept. 1999), modified on reargument,  268 A.D.2d 478 (2d Dept. 2000).
  4. Matter of Linn, 200 A.D.2d at 5-6.
  5. Matter of Sykes, 150 A.D.2d at 127.
  6. Matter of Pollack, 142 A.D.2d at 389.
  7. Matter of Ponzini, 259 A.D.2d at 148, modified on reargument, 268 A.D.2d 478.
  8. Affirmation of Grace D. Moran, attorney for Peter Galasso, in Support of Motion for Leave to Appeal, ¶27.
  9. Id. ¶28.
  10. Affirmation of Matthew Lee-Renert, supra note 3, ¶26.
  11. Id. ¶27.
  12. Id. ¶28
  13. Id. ¶29.
  14. Matter of Gayle, NYLJ, Feb. 29, 2012, page 2, col 3.
  15. Matter of Tambini, 77 A.D.3d 143, 149 (2d Dept. 2010); Matter of Iaquinta-Snigur, 30 A.D.3d 67, 76 (2d Dept. 2006)Matter of Ryan, 264 A.D.2d 128, 135 (2d Dept. 2000).
  16. Matter of Galasso, supra note 1.
  17. Affirmation of Matthew Lee-Renert, supra note 3, ¶9.

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Challenges in Handling Other People’s Money

Managing Client or Third-Party Funds Requires Close Study of Fiduciary Accounting Rules One of the saddest things I have encountered during nearly 20 years of practice in the field of legal ethics and professional discipline is the demise of a career in law — literally, someone’s life work — because of sloppiness, ignorance, or the inability […]

Reprinted with permission from the November 10, 2003 edition of the New York Law Journal ©2003 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382 – reprints@alm.com or visit www.almreprints.com.

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How to Avoid Common Ethics Problems

Small Firms and Solos Are Often Subject to Disciplinary Complaints and Malpractice Claims Every year literally thousands of New York attorneys are recipients of client disciplinary complaints, and many are also sued for malpractice. The vast majority of these respondents (to use the disciplinary parlance) are small firm and solo practitioners. Even more ominously, the numbers […]

Reprinted with permission from the October 28, 2002 edition of the New York Law Journal ©2002 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. For information, contact 877-257-3382 – reprints@alm.com or visit www.almreprints.com.

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