Former BigLaw lawyer can start the process to return to practice after prison sentence, state supreme court says
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Corrected: A former Fox Rothschild partner who was sentenced to federal prison for insider trading may start the reinstatement process to practice law again, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled earlier this week.
In its per curiam order Monday, the court granted Herbert Karl Sudfeld Jr.’s request to backdate his suspension from the state bar to April 8, 2016, the day that he was temporarily suspended after being convicted on charges that he used information overheard in his office to trade ahead of a $760 million merger between Harleysville Group Inc. and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. in April 2011.
In his petition, Sudfeld and the court’s two disciplinary counsels argued that his “acts were motivated by a moment of financial greed, and not a widespread scheme to defraud.” They also said that during his sentencing, the judge noted his “lifetime of good deeds, volunteerism and dedication to the bar were grounds for very significant downward departure and variance.”
Sudfeld is a former president of the Bucks County Bar Association, a former member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s board of governors and former delegate to the Pennsylvania Bar Association, according to the petition. He also volunteered with several community organizations.
“A four-year suspension would require respondent file a petition for reinstatement, demonstrating fitness to practice, and coincides approximately with the time conclusion of respondent’s term of federal supervision,” Sudfeld and the two counsels also said in the petition.
Sudfeld was sentenced to six months in prison and three years of federal supervision July 22, 2016. He obtained a probationary real estate license after his release in February 2018 and said in his petition that he plans to get a full real estate license.
He also said he paid the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission $91,727 to resolve a civil lawsuit, satisfied the restitution judgment of $75,000 set by the court, and completed more than 400 hours of community service. He completed his federal supervision in March.
“Respondent is remorseful for his misconduct and understands he should be disciplined, as is evidenced by his cooperation with petitioner and his consent to receiving a four-year suspension,” according to the petition.
Sudfeld will still have to file a petition for reinstatement that must ultimately be approved by the state supreme court before he will be reinstated to practice law in Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement.
ABAJournal.com: “Ex-BigLaw partner avoids long sentence for insider trading; judge notes otherwise ‘exemplary life’”
Corrected on June 30 after a reader alerted us that although Sudfield’s suspension was backdated, he will still need to go through a further reinstatement process in order to practice law again.