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Will mitigating factors lessen CA State Bar attorney punishment?

A responsive answer to the above blog query can be expressed in a single word. Namely, that is “sometimes.”

It is not always the case that mitigation plays a key role in a California attorney’s disciplinary matter, though. A recent State Bar outcome amply demonstrates that.

That case involved an attorney’s trust account manipulations and related misconduct over an extended period. Bar authorities last month termed his misbehavior as “extensive, longstanding and directly related to the practice of law.”

One notable aspect of the case (which yielded a State Bar of California disbarment order last month) was evidence submitted by the attorney and others on his behalf. Officials conceded it qualified as mitigating information to be considered in his defense.

The lawyer had an “otherwise discipline-free record” for nearly four decades preceding his recent troubles. His unblemished advocacy over that lengthy time was spotlighted by several other attorneys speaking on his behalf. Additional individuals also served as character references.

It was not enough. The bar found that the Los Angeles practitioner’s conduct in two separate bankruptcy matters could not be excused to any degree. It concluded that mitigating circumstances failed to overcome “the presumed sanction” of disbarment.

The attorney received more than just that stiff punishment. He was also ordered to pay adversely affected clients more than $520,000 in restitution.

The bar’s website contains further information about the case and attorney sanctions for wrongdoing.

Questions or concerns regarding attorney shortcomings in client representation can be directed to a proven legal team of pro-client legal malpractice attorneys.