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Can a complaint be filed against a lawyer for unethical conduct in a business matter outside the practice of law?

Reno, NV |
Filed under: Professional ethics

I have rented a house from a lawyer who denied any foreclosure proceedings on the property. After signing a lease, it was found that the house was actually the subject of a judicial foreclosure - one that has been settled with a judgement against my landlord (the lawyer). I have documentation, first of his blatant denial of the foreclosure proceedings, which happened numerous times, over a period of months. This individual has also told my new landlords - the bank who foreclosed - that I never paid rent, although I have receipts from his office, as well as bank images of his having cashed the payments for rent. Whether it is important or not, when the lease was tendered, he did use his title, Esquire, as well as his status of attorney as part of the reason we should rent from him.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Attorney disciplinary proceedings are available to protect clients from bad lawyers. If the disciplinary authority does even consider a complaint such as you describe, it is unlikely that they will impose any discipline on the lawyer. The issue did not arise in the context of an attorney-client relationship. He does sound like a bad actor. It may be some comfot to you that if the lawyer in question is convicted of any criminal activity, that will automatically come to the attention of the committee.

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  2. Mr. Brophy's advice is correct, the disciplinary rules apply only to matters in which the attorney is performing professional duties as an attorney, not his separate businesses such as being a landlord.

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  3. Although I almost invariably agree with the advice of Mr. Brophy and Mr. Leibowitz - who I find among the best on this forum - I think your LL who has lied to you and who is defaming you (if what you say is true) should be reported to the Nevada Disciplinary committee. By using his title Esq. he is putting his status as an attorney at issue, and his conduct is demeaning the profession. They may not investigate or they may investigate.

    If you'd like to discuss, please feel free to call. Jeff Gold Gold, Benes, LLP 1854 Bellmore Ave Bellmore, NY 11710 Telephone -516.512.6333 Email -