Legal Ethics

6-Month Suspension for Lawyer, 76, Who Was Taped by Client

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A 76-year-old New York personal injury lawyer has been suspended for six months after allegedly making unwelcome sexual advances and seeking oral sex from a client.

Allen Isaac also allegedly boasted to the client that he could influence appellate judges and used objectionable language to describe one jurist. Plus, he was accused of making suggestive remarks to and inappropriately touching his secretary, according to a complaint filed against him by a disciplinary committee. However, Isaac did not admit to all of the charges made against him and a referee hearing the legal disciplinary case dismissed some of them, reports the New York Law Journal in an article reprinted by New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

In a series of administrative actions, disbarment was eventually recommended, the legal publication recounts:

The referee recommended a two-year suspension for Isaac’s sexual conduct and a public censure for his remarks about the state judiciary.

A hearing panel agreed that the attorney should be disciplined for his sexual conduct but dismissed charges concerning comments he made in private. However, it recommended a five-year suspension.

The Departmental Discipinary Committee petitioned to uphold all of the charges sustained by the referee and sought to have Isaac disbarred.

The Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court, First Department, then imposed the six-month suspension, citing the more than 50-year practitioner’s hitherto unblemished disciplinary record, his age and similar punishment in other cases of comparable misconduct.

Isaac was charged in the 2005 disciplinary case after his now-former client secretly recorded two phone calls and a law office meeting, the New York Law Journal notes.

Isaac declined comment and his lawyer did not respond to the legal publication’s request for comment.

His ex-client, Luisa Esposito, was not happy:

“The man should have been disbarred, period,” she said, calling the six-month suspension of his law license “an absolute joke.”

After complaining to disciplinary authorities, she later filed a civil suit against Isaac, his firm and other defendants, which was dismissed, and sought to have the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office pursue a case against Isaac, which it declined to do, the article reports.

At that point, Esposito filed a federal suit against the district attorney’s office and other defendants involved in the attorney disciplinary system, which was also dismissed.

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