Attorney Article

New Jersey Supreme Court Censures Attorney Who Conditioned Agreement on Withdrawal of Ethics Grievance

LPL eAdvisory

July 2013

Author: Maxwell L. Billek

Maxwell Billek (Partner-New Jersey) and Brian Gatens (Associate-New Jersey) weave a cautionary tale from the efforts by an attorney to negotiate the withdrawal of a grievance filed against him in exchange for dropping a contemplated defamation suit. The Disciplinary Review Board of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which serves as the intermediate appellate level of the attorney disciplinary system in the state, emphasized that attorney discipline is not a private cause of action or private remedy for misconduct that can be negotiated between an attorney and the aggrieved party. Instead, it is a mechanism that furthers public interests. The Board recommended censure against the attorney, and that recommendation became final upon order of the Supreme Court on June 13, 2013.

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