Ousted for Bad Mouth, NY Lawyer Doesn’t Zip It
Posted Apr 23, 2007 1:21 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
After 50 years in practice and a self-estimated $70 million in verdicts for his clients, 77-year-old Kenneth Heller stands out for one completely unique accomplishment -- he is the only lawyer in New York City ever disbarred for obnoxious behavior, according to the Village Voice.
According to disciplinary hearing records, he is the only city attorney to have been disbarred for "obstructive and offensive behavior which did not involve fraud or deception," reports the newspaper in a lengthy profile of the openly obnoxious attorney who nonetheless has proven to have his heart in the right place on a number of occasions.
Heller, for instance, said he gave his associate of 26 years a $250,000 "retirement" bonus when she temporarily left his practice a few years back. And she and others defend him as a tough-talking practitioner who got the job done, an old-school attorney who didn't change his language to accord with the requirements of changing times. At a recent hearing on his refusal to turn over client files in an ongoing case, despite the price he has already paid for his bad behavior, Heller was still irrepressible. "Kiss my tuchis!" he spat as the judge walked by.
He is appealing a $10,000 fine and 30-day jail sentence in that case.
A hat tip to Howard Bashman for bringing this article to our attention.