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Legal Ethics

‘Addiction’ to Video Games Results in 3-Year Suspension for Pa. Lawyer

Posted Aug 18, 2011 11:51 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Otherwise a competent and respected lawyer, Matthew Eshelman had one major Achilles heel, according to a disciplinary panel report: He loved to play video games.

When his work or family life became stressful, he spent time at his computer playing games instead of focusing on his law practice. Admitted in Pennsylvania in 1994, Eshelman, by his own admission, lost three law firm jobs due to his "addiction," says an April report (PDF, scroll down) by the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The situation worsened after Eshelman couldn't find another law firm job and opened his own solo practice, where he lacked the supervision and staff support that had helped him avoid major problems earlier.

Yesterday he lost his law license for three years, after neglecting well over a dozen client matters, according to the report, and driving at least one client to seek psychiatric treatment for the stress she experienced as a result of being represented by Eshelman.

The Supreme Court rendered its decision in a one-page order (PDF) attaching the report.

A hearing committee had recommended a five-year suspension, but the Disciplinary Board recommended a three-year suspension, notes the Legal Profession Blog.

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