Legal Ethics

Lawyer says to court: So go ahead and disbar me


After multiple certified and first-class letters to multiple addresses in multiple states, a New York court’s discipline committee finally reached a lawyer whose conduct it was investigating. Then later it finally got a response: “So go ahead and disbar me.”

So the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Division, took the next step Thursday, suspending the law license of Gwen E. Snorteland, Legal Profession Blog reported.

The disciplinary investigation was launched after Snorteland consented to a cease-and-desist order with the Securities and Exchange Commission for her part as an investment bank’s “transaction manager” involved in misleading investors in collateralized debt deal in 2007-8, according to the decision by five justices in the First Judicial Department.

The opinion details a series of letters and telephone calls, trying addresses in Maine, Michigan and New York, seeking a response from Snorteland, finally getting an address in Ohio from her lawyer that worked. At first, Snorteland told an investigator that she had been very ill, and she asked for a proposed affidavit for her to sign that would permit her to resign from the bar.

After receiving it, Snorteland declined to sign, instead writing: “I will not be filing an answer to the complaint or otherwise participate … in this investigation… So go ahead and disbar me for failure to cooperate.”

Last month, Snorteland filed for bankruptcy in Ohio.

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