I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. My comments are for information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT PROVIDE SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I refer to your state's laws, that only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that appeared relevant. You should not rely on any comment I make regarding your state's law. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state.
Attorney discipline in Pennsylvania is handled by the state Disciplinary Board, which has a comprehensive question and answer page here: http://www.padisciplinaryboard.org/faqs/consumers.php
Attorney discipline is not based on general morals or good behavior. There are specific moral and character issues that may be relevant to licensing; you can speak with an ethics attorney in your state to see if this attorney is violating any professional rules.
However, the circumstances you are in and the tone of your post indicate you should wait a few weeks before taking action. The information you just discovered is extremely painful and horrifying, and you must be feeling betrayed by both your neighbor and your husband. This is not a good time to rely on your judgment. Anyone would be prone to making unhelpful decisions in your situation.
I hope things work out for you.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***
The most common reasons lawyers get disbarred - by a wide margin- are stealing money from the escrow account, and getting convicted of a crime. You are understandably furious about all this, but it's the wrong reason to want to get a lawyer disbarred.
Any opinions stated in response to Avvo questions are based upon the facts stated in the question. Responses to Avvo questions are for general information purposes only, and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice.
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.
That being said, I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. The tax, drug and DUI issues are all ones that could get her disbarred - although a suspension is more likely. The issue of lying in court would likely result in disbarment, but also potentially lead to liability for you as she lied on your behalf. You should contact an attorney that deals with ethics issues as a primary practice area to discuss how this might all work out.
The other answering attorneys are all correct in their statements that this may not be a good course of action for you. In my experience, any legal action taken for revenge has a HUGE emotional cost and leaves the original wound open for years - preventing you from any healing at all. The ethics complaint and proceedings could take up to two years, and the whole issue would be hanging over your head all the time. You will have to decide if it is worth it - and making a decision you won't regret while you are freshly hurt will be hard to do.
This is even more reason to seek the advice of an ethics attorney. Once you know how and whether you will be caught up in the process, and whether it has any chance of resulting in the disbarment you seek OR resulting in harm to you (i.e. a charge against you of suborning perjury for her lying on your behalf, etc.), you can then make an informed choice about what to do.
/Christopher E. Ezold/
The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
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