IN THE MATTER OP MAXWELL X. COLBY AN ATTORNEY AT LAW
Argued: May 17, 2018
Adler appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Ethics
Scully appeared on behalf of the District IX Ethics Committee
Respondent appeared pro se.
A. Brodsky Chief Counsel
Bonnie C. Frost, Chair
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
consolidated matters were before us on a recommendation for a
one-year suspension, filed by the District IX Ethics
complaint in DRB 18-061 charged respondent with violating
RPC 1.8(a) (conflict of interest); RPC
1.15(d) (recordkeeping); RPC 5.5(a)(1) (unauthorized
practice of law); RPC 8.1(b) (failure to cooperate
with disciplinary officials); and RPC 8.4(d) (conduct
prejudicial to the administration of justice).
complaint in DRB 18-062 charged respondent with violating
RPC 1.1(a) (gross neglect); RPC 1.3 (lack
of diligence); RPC 1.4(b) (failure to communicate
with the client); and RPC 8.1(b).
reasons stated below, we determine to impose a two-year
suspension to run consecutively to the suspension respondent
is currently serving.
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1975 and the New York
bar in 1984.
April 30, 2002, the Court reprimanded respondent for his
negligent misappropriation of client trust funds due to
improper trust and business accounting practices. In re
Colby, 172 N.J. 37 (2002). On February 8, 2008, the
Court again reprimanded respondent for recordkeeping
violations, some of which continued from the time of his
first reprimand. In re Colby, 193 N.J. 484 (2008).
March 24, 2017, respondent was temporarily suspended for
failing to cooperate in the investigation into DRB18-061.
In re Colby, 228 N.J. 236 (2017).
March 14, 2018, the Court suspended respondent for one year
for gross neglect, - lack of diligence; failure to keep a
client reasonably informed about the matter; knowingly
disobeying the rules of a tribunal; practicing law while
administratively ineligible; failure to cooperate with
disciplinary authorities; and conduct involving dishonesty,
fraud, deceit or misrepresentation. In re Colby, 232
N.J. 273 (2018). Respondent remains suspended to date.
addition, since September 26, 2011, respondent has been
ineligible to practice law for failure to pay the annual
assessment to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client
Protection (the Fund). He also has been ineligible to
practice law for failure to comply with the Interest on
Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) requirements, since October 21,
2011, and for failure to comply with continuing legal
education requirements, since November 17, 2014.
18-061 (District Docket Nos. XIV-2016-0248E and
DEC hearing in this matter, the parties agreed that the
admissions contained in respondent's answer to the ethics
complaint would serve as a stipulation. The facts of the
matter are as follows.
Practicinq while ineliqible
stopped paying his annual fee to the Fund in 2011 and
remained ineligible to practice law through 2016, when he was
temporarily suspended for his failure to cooperate with the
Office of Attorney Ethics' (OAE) investigation in this
matter. Respondent explained that he stopped paying his
annual assessment because he did not have the funds to do so.
Subsequently, in 2011, respondent also become ineligible for
failure to comply with IOLTA. Despite his knowledge of his
ineligibility to practice law in New Jersey, respondent
actively represented clients between 2011 and 2016.
respondent admitted that, between 2011 and 2016, he was the
attorney of record in approximately twenty-five real estate
transactions and that he was aware of his ineligibility at
the time. Additionally, respondent admitted that, during the
same period, he failed to report the completion of his
continuing legal education requirements in 2014. He
maintains, however, that ...