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Disciplinary Reporter Case Digest

Attorney ID 28818
Attorney Name Bolno, Susan Bell
DBP Docket No. 162 DB 2000
Supreme Court Docket No. 812 D.D. No. 3
County Philadelphia
Disciplinary Counsel Barbara S. Rosenberg
Counsel for Respondent James Patrick Leonard
Decision Date 2003-03-07
Effective Date 2003-04-06
Case Digest For seven years Respondent engaged in a pattern of accepting cases, providing minimal initial services, and then permitting the files to languish. She did not communicate with her clients or other counsel and ignored court orders to the detriment of her clients’ cases. Respondent made misrepresentations and fabricated letters to cover her neglect. In addition, Respondent made intentional misrepresentations on her annual attorney registration form, stating that she was “inactive” in New Jersey rather than suspended. Respondent argued that her misconduct was due to personal and professional issues that prevented her from making decisions for her clients. She claimed to be indecisive and fearful of making mistakes. She was also entangled in a difficult divorce that became final in 2002. However, the Disciplinary Board held that Respondent had failed to meet the standard of proof for mitigation set forth in Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Braun. Respondent had not sought psychiatric treatment until after Petitioner became involved. The Board opined that Respondent needed time to sort out the issues with her practice and then to prove at a reinstatement hearing that she is fit to practice law. In mitigation, Respondent had no prior history of discipline and showed remorse.
Rule Violation(s) 1.1, 1.3, 1.4(a), 1.4(b), 1.5(c), 1.15(b), 1.16(d), 3.1, 3.2, 4.1(a), 8.4(c); 203(b)(3), 219(d)(1)(i), 219(d)(3)
Discipline Imposed Two Year Suspension
Points of Law A lawyer who misrepresents on her registration form that she is inactive in another state, when she is suspended there, will be suspended.
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