84-Year Old Attorney Ingloriously Ends 50+ Year Career By Getting Double Bar Boot After Ripping Off Dead Client's Estate, Then Continuing To Practice Law After Initial Disbarment
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:
- Robert Joseph Friedman of Hallandale Beach had been practicing law since 1958 but got into trouble when he was named a personal representative for a client's estate, according to Florida Bar records. When the beneficiary attempted to cash a check from the estate, he couldn't because there wasn't enough money in the account, the Bar reported. Friedman then "admitted that he misappropriated trust funds," staffers for the Florida Bar wrote.(1)
This spring, Friedman got into more problems when the judicial watchdog found he had continued to practice law and tell clients he was an attorney despite being disbarred in May. The Florida Supreme Court then found him in contempt and banned him from ever practicing law. Otherwise, he would have had a chance to reapply for his license in five years, said Bar spokeswoman Karen Kirksey.
Friedman said in a brief telephone interview, "I resigned." He said he was no longer practicing law and had no further comment. The Florida Bar had honored him five years ago for being a 50-year member.(2)
(1) The Florida Bar's Clients' Security Fund was established to reimburse clients who have suffered a loss due to misappropriation or embezzlement by a Florida-licensed attorney.
For similar "attorney ripoff reimbursement funds" that sometimes help cover the financial mess created by the dishonest conduct of lawyers licensed in other states and Canada, see:
- Directory Of Lawyers' Funds For Client Protection (now includes Canadian recovery funds, courtesy of the American Bar Association);
- Check the USA Client Protection Funds Map;
- Check the Canada Client Protection Funds Map.
(2) I wonder what the punishment is if this guy again gets caught practicing law. A triple bar boot???