Legal Ethics

Ex-BigLaw Partner Disbarred for Bogus Time Entries, Expensed Meals for Internet Dates

The New Jersey Supreme Court has disbarred a former BigLaw partner for creating phony time records, having sex with a client and submitting expense vouchers for dinners with women he was dating.

The lawyer, Kenneth Denti, had worked at Fox Rothschild and Margolis Edelstein, according to the disciplinary review board opinion recommending disbarment. The disbarment order, attached to the end of the review board opinion (PDF), is dated Jan. 11. The Legal Profession Blog has the story.

Denti made “bogus” time entries at both law firms to justify his continued compensation, the opinion says. He also had sex with a divorce client at Margolis Edelstein and billed Margolis Edelstein for meals with other women he was dating, including two women he met through the Internet, according to the review board.

“We conclude that respondent engaged in an extensive and extended scheme to defraud the Fox Rothschild and Margolis Edelstein law firms,” the opinion concluded. “He submitted fictitious time sheets for more than two and one-half years, encompassing more than $350,000 in fees.”

Denti and the divorce client had both denied a sexual relationship, but flirtatious e-mails told a different story, according to the opinion. The document goes through a series of questions presented to Denti during the ethics hearing and his denials, including this question: “Let’s talk about your e-mail. What are you talking about with a whole case of raincoats and using them all in one night?”

“I think I’m joking,” he replies, and then says it probably refers to the client’s husband.

The review board said the relationship with the divorce client was unethical because she was attempting to reconcile with her husband at the time.

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