Risk Update

Lawyers Caught Doing Bad Things (Allegedly and Actually)

Lawyer who secretly changed origination credits to his benefit should be suspended, ethics panel says” —

  • “An Illinois lawyer who inadvertently discovered he was able to alter origination credits on his office computer should be suspended for making changes that added more than $200,000 to his book of business, according to an ethics hearing board.”
  • “Michael Joseph Shifrin should be suspended for one year for making the unauthorized changes through the law firm’s office management software, according to the Hearing Board of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.”
  • “Shifrin made the changes between May 2014 and April 2018 when he was a nonequity partner… The law firm discovered the problem after another lawyer asked why some matters were not reflecting a split in origination credit. Shifrin was fired after first denying then admitting he had made the changes. He later repaid the amount of money he made from the scheme.”
  • “In aggravation, Shifrin’s misconduct involved more than 200 acts in which he changed the credits. ‘We saw no indication that he would have ceased his actions had he not been caught,’ the hearing board said.”

Ex-Willkie Co-Chair Faces Prison After College Scandal Plea” —

  • “The former co-chairman of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLPpleaded guilty to conspiracy and faces the possibility of going to prison after admitting he bribed a consultant with $75,000 to have him rig his daughter’s college board scores.”
  • “‘I would like to emphasize that my daughter had absolutely nothing to do with this,’ Caplan told U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston federal court. ‘This was all mine.'”
  • “When federal prosecutors unveiled the sprawling case in March, Caplan came to personify the extent some of the 33 parents charged were willing to cheat to get their kids into elite schools. Another 17 college coaches and test proctors were also charged in what the government said was the largest college-admissions scandal they’ve prosecuted.”
  • “‘To be honest, I’m not worried about the moral issue here,’ Caplan, a graduate of Cornell and Fordham Law School, told Singer. ‘I’m worried about the, if she’s caught doing that, she’s finished.'”
  • “Both Caplan and Huneeus pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest-services mail fraud. Under the plea deal, prosecutors said they’ll recommend that Caplan serve a term as low as eight months in prison and pay a fine of $40,000. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 3. Huneeus, who will be sentenced Oct. 4, faces 15 months and a $95,000 fine.”

California lawyer suspended for 30 days for failure to disclose client’s death while continuing to litigate matter” —

  • “According to the stipulated facts, ‘Respondent learned of Alfeo Mattei’s death in or about June 2016 after the Court of Appeal remanded the case but failed to inform the court or opposing counsel, as required by Sonoma County Superior Court Local Rule 4.1(A). Local Rule 4.1(A) states “When a party to a case dies, the attorney for that party shall promptly serve and file a notice with the court.'”
  • “The lawyer failed to inform the court (or opposing counsel) of the death of Alfeo, even though Alfeo was the only person who could testify about the landlord’s contractual intent since he other landlord (Leann) was not involved in the lease. The lawyer stated that he believed that he could establish intent by legal argument, by cross-examination or by use of an expert. He successfully opposed the tenants’ motion for summary judgment, and a trial was scheduled for April 2017.”
  • “On the first day of the trial, opposing counsel asked the lawyer why Alfeo was not on the witness list and the lawyer did not answer… Opposing counsel then conducted an internet search during a break in the proceedings, learned that Alfeo had died, and informed the judge. The judge asked the lawyer if that was true, and the lawyer responded: “He has passed, yes.”. The judge sanctioned the lawyer approximately $31,000.00 for continuing to litigate the case for more than a year without informing the court or the opposing counsel of the death and the judge also reported the order to the California State Bar.”