In The Matter Of Robert J. Bernot An Attorney At Law
Docket No. XIII-2017-0004E
BONNIE C. FROST, CHAIR.
Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme
Court of New Jersey.
matter was before us on a certification of the record filed
by the District XIII Ethics Committee (DEC), pursuant to R.
1:20-4(f). The formal ethics complaint charged respondent
with violating RPC 5.5(a)(1) (engaging in the
unauthorized practice of law).
reasons set forth below, we determine to impose a six-month
was admitted to the New Jersey bar in 1982.
2, 2012, respondent received a reprimand for violating
RPC 1.3 (lack of diligence). In re Bernot,
210 N.J. 117 (2012). On May 3, 2013, he was temporarily
suspended by the Court, for failing to pay disciplinary costs
assessed in his reprimand matter. In re Bernot, 213
N.J. 541 (2013). On October 4, 2013, respondent was
reinstated, having paid in full the monies owed. In re
Bernot, 215 N.J. 634(2013).
November 2, 2018, respondent received a two-year suspension,
for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and failing
to cooperate with disciplinary authorities. In violation of
two Court Orders, respondent practiced law both while
temporarily suspended for failure to pay costs and while
ineligible for failure to comply with the Court's
mandatory IOLTA program. That matter proceeded by way of
default. In the Matter of Robert J. Bernot, DRB
17-339 (April 3, 2018) (slip op. at 7).
between August 29 and September 16, 2013, respondent sent six
letters on behalf of his client to her former husband
regarding compliance with a property settlement agreement.
Each of these letters was faxed from his law office, using
his office stationery, which identified him as an attorney in
good standing, a violation of RPC 5.5(a)(1).
despite repeatedly accepting and signing for letters from the
Office of Attorney Ethics requesting that he reply to the
grievance, respondent failed to do so. Subsequently, the
Office of Attorney Ethics filed a disciplinary complaint.
Despite receiving a second opportunity to cooperate,
respondent again ignored the requests. We found that his
conduct in this regard brazenly violated RPC 8.1(b).
October 22, 2012, respondent was deemed administratively
ineligible to practice law, pursuant to R. 1:28A-2(d), for
failure to comply with the Court's mandatory Interest on
Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program.
November 17, 2014, the Court declared him ineligible to
practice law, for failure to satisfy his Continuing Legal
Education (CLE) requirements. He remains ineligible.
since September 12, 2016, respondent has been ineligible to
practice law for failure to pay the annual attorney
assessment to the New Jersey Lawyers' Fund for Client
Protection (the Fund).
of process was proper in this matter. On November 30, 2017,
the DEC mailed a copy of the complaint to respondent at his
business address in Flemington, New Jersey, by regular and
certified mail, return receipt requested, in accordance with
R. 1:20-4(d) and 1:20-7(h). ...