The New Jersey State Bar Association is encouraged by the recent recommendations that carve out a pathway back from disbarment in certain cases where attorneys knowingly misappropriated client funds. This long-overdue remedy offers attorneys a chance at redemption and rehabilitation, while maintaining public faith in the legal system and holding legal professionals to the highest ethical standards.
As the Court noted in In re Wade, New Jersey takes an uncompromising approach to attorney disbarment when compared with most states in the nation. Revoking a law license is a punitive and extreme step, especially in cases where there is no intent to steal or defraud, and no client or member of the public suffered harm.
The Association has been a persistent advocate for reexamining the duration of disbarment, most recently through its amicus work in Wade, In re Lucid and participation on the Supreme Court’s special committee. Requiring disbarred attorneys to wait five years before applying for readmission, and other recommendations by the committee, are consistent with NJSBA’s position and would bring New Jersey in line with the American Bar Association’s model rules.
The NJSBA will review the report, consult ally bar groups and submit comments to the Court that promote alternatives short of disbarment and a mechanism for readmission. The Association will also continue to aid attorneys facing ethics infractions through its many programs and services that offer education, consultation and collaboration, including programs and services available through the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal education, the New Jersey Lawyers Assistance Program, the Ethics Diversionary Program and the PracticeHQ suite available on the NJSBA’s website.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2023
Contact: Thomas Nobile
Director of Communications