Docket No. XIV-2017-0118E
C. Frost, Esq., Chair Bruce W. Clark, Esq., Vice-Chair Peter
J. Boyer, Esq. Hon. Maurice J. Galupoli Thomas J. Hoberman
Regina Waynes Joseph, Esq. Eileen Rivera Anne C. Singer, Esq.
EllenA, Brodsky chief counsel.
T. Granuzzo deputy chief counsel.
Melissa Urban first assistant counsel
Timothy M. Ellis Lillian Lewin Barry R. Petersen, Jr Colin T.
Tams Kathryn Anne Winterle assistant counsel
Disciplinary Review Board reviewed the motion for discipline
by consent (reprimand or censure) filed by the Office of
Attorney Ethics, pursuant to R. 1:20-10(b). Following a
review of the record, the Board determined to grant the
Board's view, a censure is the appropriate measure of
discipline for respondent's violation of RPC 5.5(a)
(unauthorized practice of law).
by Court Order effective November 17, 2014, and, again, by
Court Order effective November 16, 2015, respondent, while an
associate with the law firm of Leanza, Agrapidis &
Maroules P.C. (Leanza), was declared ineligible to practice
law for failure to comply with mandatory continuing legal
education (CLE) requirements. On June 20, 2016, respondent
was removed from the CLE ineligibility list. However, by
Order effective November 21, 2016, he was again declared
ineligible to practice law, again for failure to comply with
CLE requirements. He was removed from the CLE ineligible list
on March 10, 2017.
admitted to the OAE, during a July 10, 2017 demand interview,
that he was aware of his administrative ineligibility, but
continued to practice law on multiple occasions, over a
four-month period, while employed at the Leanza firm.
practicing law while ineligible is met with an admonition, if
the attorney is unaware of the ineligibility. A reprimand may
result if aggravating factors exist, such as other ethics
improprieties are present, the attorney has an ethics
history, the matter proceeded as a default, or the attorney
had knowledge of the ineligibility and practiced law,
nevertheless. See, e.g., In re
Frayne, 220 N.J. 23 (2014) (default; attorney practiced
law while ineligible; there was no evidence that he knew that
he was ineligible at the time; the attorney also failed to
communicate with the client); In re Fell, 219 N.J.
425 (2014) (attorney who was ineligible for a five-month
period represented a matrimonial client, knowing of his
ineligibility; in aggravation, the attorney had received a
prior reprimand; in mitigation, the attorney readily admitted
his conduct and provided service to his community); and
In re Moskowitz, 215 N.J. 636 (2013) (attorney
practiced law knowing that he was ineligible to do so).
have been imposed where the aggravating factors have been
more serious. See, e.g., In re
D'Arienzo, 217 N.J. 151 (2014) (attorney's
recklessness in not ensuring that payment of his annual
assessment was sent to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for
Client Protection was deemed "akin to knowledge on his
part;" in aggravation, the attorney had an extensive
disciplinary history, which included a 2013 reprimand for
practicing while ineligible); In re Macchiaverna,
214 N.J. 517 (2013) (attorney knowingly practiced law while
ineligible, and engaged in recordkeeping violations; an
aggravating factor was the attorney's prior reprimand for
recordkeeping violations that led to the negligent
misappropriation of client funds; the attorney also did not
appear on the return date of the Court's order to show
cause); In re Payton.___N.J.___(2011) (2011 N.J.
Lexis 704) (attorney practiced law while he was ineligible;
mitigating factors were the attorney's poor financial
situation caused by his ill health, and his quick admission
of wrongdoing; aggravating factors were the attorney's
knowledge of his ineligibility and his extensive disciplinary
record - an admonition, a reprimand, and two three- month
suspensions); and In re Lynch, 186 N.J. 246 (2006)
(attorney, aware of his ineligibility, practiced law during
that period; the attorney had a prior admonition and a
respondent's prior censure, serves as an aggravating
factor, and his admission of wrongdoing and cooperation with
ethics authorities are mitigating factors. Based on those
factors and the above precedent, the Board determined that a