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In re Boyle

Decided: May 9, 1955.

IN THE MATTER OF THE ALLEGED UNPROFESSIONAL AND UNETHICAL CONDUCT OF BART R. BOYLE, A MEMBER OF THE BAR OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PRACTICING IN HUDSON COUNTY


On order to show cause why the respondent should not be disciplined.

For reprimand -- Chief Justice Vanderbilt, and Justices Heher, Oliphant, Wachenfeld, Burling, Jacobs and Brennan. Opposed -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Burling, J.

Burling

Because of the education and training of members of the legal profession and the opportunities inherent in their practice, they very clearly have a duty and a challenge to exert a wholesome influence by fostering high ideals.

Good government is dependent upon the high standards of morality which men and women recognize as such. We are informed by the preamble to the Canons of Professional Ethics that the enumeration of particular duties is a general guide and "should not be construed as a denial of the existence of others equally imperative." Cf. In re Genser, 15 N.J. 600, 602 (1954). "Concern must be not with whether an act is subject to discipline by an ethics committee but whether such behavior is that which the conscience directs." Henry S. Drinker, The Ethical Lawyer, 7 Univ. of Fla. L. Rev. 375 (1954). Constant emphasis upon the wholesomeness of law observance tends to reduce the necessity of law enforcement.

The New Jersey Constitution of 1947 reposes in this court "jurisdiction over the admission to the practice of law and the discipline of persons admitted." N.J. Const. 1947, Art. VI, Sec. II, par. 3. "This duty is imposed for the protection of society and to uphold a respected evaluation and the traditions of the legal profession." In re Genser, supra

(15 N.J., at p. 607). The necessity for the resort to disciplinary proceedings is to be regretted but the eagerness of the vast number of responsible and creditable attorneys who earn respect by their integrity of character and industrious application of their knowledge and talents makes the number of such proceedings proportionately negligible. It has been said that the "ethical lawyer" is "one whose preparation, equipment, character, and conduct are always such as to reflect honor on the noble profession of which he is a member." Henry S. Drinker, The Ethical Lawyer, ante (7 Univ. of Fla. L. Rev., at p. 375). Nevertheless when the occasion does arise, the attorneys and the court should be the first to recognize it and act to maintain respect.

In a presentment filed by the Ethics and Grievance Committee for Hudson County, Bart R. Boyle was charged with unprofessional and unethical conduct. R.R. 1:16-4(h). An order to show cause why he should not be disbarred or otherwise disciplined was issued by this court. Boyle, a resident of Bayonne, New Jersey, was admitted to the Bar in this State in January, 1927, as an attorney-at-law. At the principal times involved in this matter he was an employee of the Clerk of Hudson County and was charged with supervision of Chancery Division duplicate files.

This case devolves from the wisdom of non-commingling of other peoples' money with one's own. This salutary principle is expressed in Canon 11 in the following language:

"Money of the client or collected for the client or other trust property coming into the possession of the lawyer should be reported and accounted for promptly, and should not under any circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by him."

Perhaps this rule should expressly state that a special bank account should be maintained as a repository for such trust moneys.

The salient facts of this matter are not in material dispute. It appears that the Clinton Milk Company of Newark, New Jersey, (hereinafter called Clinton) claimed the sum of $13,147.46 ...


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