MERCER COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION XTREME CLE. 2.0 NJ CLE Credits. Charles Centinaro, Esq., Director of Attorney Ethics

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1 MERCER COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION XTREME CLE COURSE TITLE: LOCATION: Ethics with Charles Centinaro 2.0 NJ CLE Credits The Conference Center at MCCC DATE: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 TIME: SPEAKERS: 8:00 am 9:45 am Charles Centinaro, Esq., Director of Attorney Ethics 8:00-8:05 Introductions 8:05 8:15 Office of Attorney Ethics 8:15 8:35 Overview of Attorney Discipline System 8:35 8:50 Top Ten Ethics Complaints 8:50 8:55 Discipline of New Jersey Attorneys 8:55 9:35 Why Lawyers are Disciplined 9:35 9:45 How to Avoid Grievances

2 Mercer County Bar Association Xtreme 2014 CLE Seminar Evaluation Ethics Update with Charles Centinaro Wednesday, October 29, 2014 We would greatly appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to complete this questionnaire. These forms are necessary in order to obtain CLE credits. Your feedback will also help with other upcoming events. How did you first become aware of this seminar? MCBA Website MCBA Newsletter Received a registration flyer through the Mail Firm Other: Rate the following aspects of the seminar. Check one box for each aspect: Failed to meet Needs Met Exceeded Expectations Improvement Expectations Expectations Excellent! Overall Quality Written Materials Instructor(s) Facility Rate the content of this seminar: too basic too advanced perfect Would you recommend this seminar to others? : Yes No Yes, with these changes : What did you like most about the seminar? : What part of this seminar could use improvement? Please give us your suggestions for future seminars: Thank you. Please return this form to the MCBA representative after the seminar.

3 Charles Centinaro, Director of Office of Attorney Ethics Appointed Director in 2009; Admitted to Practice 1989 Education: B.A. Rutgers University 1983; J.D. J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University Law Practice: Associate at Shaljian, Cammarata, O'Connor & Messano, LLP of Jersey City ( ); Assistant County Counsel for Hudson County ( ); Assistant Prosecutor for Hudson County ( ); Assistant Counsel in the Office of Chief Counsel to Governors Christie Whitman and Donald T. DiFrancesco ( ); First Assistant Deputy Public Defender for Mercer Trial Region (01-07); Director of Juvenile Defense Services for the Office of the Public Defender (07-09).

4 A Disciplinary Roadmap: The Office of Attorney Ethics / The Attorney Discipline System / Top Ten Ethics Complaints Charles Centinaro, Esq. Director, Office of Attorney Ethics October 29, 2014

5 Office of Attorney Ethics Investigative and Prosecutorial Arm of the in Disciplinary Matters

6 Office of Attorney Ethics Administrative and Oversight Responsibilities District Ethics Committees District Fee Arbitration Committees Random Audit Program Trust Overdraft Notification Program Annual Attorney Registration

7 Office of Attorney Ethics Exclusive Jurisdiction Complex, Emergent or Serious Disciplinary Cases Criminal Charges Reciprocal Discipline Sitting Judges Multijurisdictional Practice, In-House Counsel Other

8 To Preserve Confidence "(T)he principle reason for discipline is to preserve the confidence of the public in the integrity and trustworthiness of lawyers in general." In re Wilson, 81 N.J. 451, 456 (1979).

9 Attorney Disciplinary System Office of Attorney Ethics and District Ethics Committees Disciplinary Review Board

10 District Ethics Committees Chair Investigations Vice-Chair Hearings Secretary Evaluations of Grievances

11 Evaluation of Grievances All grievances are evaluated in accordance with the Court Rules.

12 Evaluation of Grievances (Cont.) Docket Decline Defer

13 Deferral of Grievances R. 1:20-3(f) Related pending litigation Generally, the ethics system takes no action on a grievance until the trial and all appeals have been exhausted

14 Who Files Grievances CLIENTS Adversaries Judges Financial Institutions Reporting Overdrafts Law Enforcement Agencies Foreign Disciplinary Authorities Other Third Parties and Entities

15 Top Ten Ethics Complaints Money 34.6% Neglect / Competence / Diligence 19.9% Fraud, Deceit and Misrepresentation 7.5% Communication Lacking with Client 6.6% Conflicts of Interest 3.5%

16 Top Ten Ethics Complaints Criminal Offenses 2% Ineligible Practice of Law 1.3% Administration of Justice 1.3% Personal Behavior -.9% Prosecutorial / Defense Misconduct -.6%

17 Investigations Clear and Convincing Evidence Confidential Investigative Report

18 Diversion Like PTI (Agreement in Lieu of Discipline) Minor Misconduct Acknowledgement of Unethical Conduct Non-disciplinary Conditions

19 Diversion Disqualifiers Knowing misappropriation Substantial prejudice; no restitution Discipline in previous five years Title 2C Crimes Dishonesty, fraud, deceit, and misrepresentaion. RPC 8.4(c)

20 Complaint and Answer Service of Complaint Filing of Answer

21 Disciplinary Hearings Public Hearings Hearing Panel or Special Ethics Master Procedure

22 Disciplinary Review Board Intermediate Appellate Tribunal Reviews All Recommendations for Discipline Hears Appeals from Dismissals Reinstatement of Suspended Attorneys

23 Reviews DRB Decisions Hears and Decides All Recommendations for Disbarment Decides Applications by the OAE for Emergent Temporary Suspensions

24 Disciplinary Sanctions Emergent Actions Final Discipline

25 Emergent Actions Generally two grounds: Non-cooperation. R. 1:20-3(g)(3) & (4). Threat of serious harm to attorneys, clients, or public. R. 1:20-11(a). Application to Supreme Court by OAE

26 Emergent Actions-Possible Results Interim suspension. R. 1:20-11 Order to cooperate License restriction proctor, co-signor, practice limitation Temporary disability inactive status. R. 1:20-12

27 Final Discipline R.1:20-15A Admonition Reprimand Censure Term suspension (usually 3 months to 3 years)

28 Final Discipline R.1:20-15A Indeterminate suspension - at least 5 years (cases on cusp of disbarment ) Revocation of License Disbarment

29 Why Lawyers Are Disciplined Misrepresentation/Fraud/Deceit RPC 8.4(c) Lack of Competence (Gross Neglect) - RPC 1.1 and Lack of Diligence RPC 1.3 Other Money Offenses RPC 1.15 Knowing Misappropriation RPC 1.15

30 Why Lawyers Are Disciplined (Cont.) Conflicts of Interest RPC Non-Cooperation RPC 8.1(b) Criminal Convictions RPC 8.4(b) Fees RPC 1.5 Ineligible Practicing Law RPC 5.5(a) Communication Lacking RPC 1.4 Administration of Justice RPC 8.4(d)

31 Reporting Professional Misconduct RPC 8.3 A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial questions as to that lawyer s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.

32 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Know the Rules of Professional Responsibility

33 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Consider Ability to Handle The Matter a. Competency and Knowledge b. Time

34 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Establish Basis and Rate of Fee At Outset of Representation

35 How to Avoid Ethics Complaints Communicate Regularly with Client Money

36 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Don t Make Promises You Can t Keep a. Unrealistic Results b. Unrealistic Timelines

37 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Don t Do Business With Your Client No Sex with Clients Don t Hold Client s File Hostage

38 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Realize When Your Situation Is Getting Out of Control

39 How To Avoid Ethics Complaints Cooperate With Disciplinary Authorities

40 Thank You For Your Attention

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