Lawyer disbarred after breaking into former law firm; blamed punctuation problem

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A Florida lawyer has been disbarred after he was accused of breaking into his former law firm in Bradenton and stealing a safe and a computer server.

The Florida Supreme Court permanently disbarred Christopher Louis Brady in a July 11 order, Law360 reports. He was suspended on an emergency basis in January.

Brady had justified his actions based on his former law firm’s failure to use periods in “PA” when it referred to itself as a professional association. Brady maintained he had the right to create a new firm of the same name by filing as a professional association with the proper periods, so that it read “P.A.”

Brady’s former law firm was the Barak Law Group. He was an associate when he was fired in July 2018 for missing hearings and for exhibiting “odd and concerning behavior,” according to a referee’s April 16 report.

Almost immediately after his firing, Brady began holding himself out as the owner of the Barak Law Group although Anthony Barak was the firm’s sole owner.

Brady and his twin brother were accused of burglarizing the Barak firm in August 2018 based on a video of the break-in.

The video allegedly showed Brady and his brother backing a truck up to the Barak firm, tying a rope from the truck to the front door and using the car to rip the door open. The video showed Brady and his brother removing a safe and the computer server, Barak testified.

A few days later, Brady and his brother were discovered burglarizing Barak’s storage unit using keys kept in the safe, according to the referee. Among the items taken were a firearm belonging to Barak.

Barak obtained an injunction that barred Brady from harassing Barak or interfering with his business. It also barred Brady from contacting Barak, his employees, his clients or his attorney. The injunction did not stop Brady’s behavior, leading a circuit court to hold him in contempt three times for violating the injunction, the referee said.

Though Brady was aware he had no authority to represent Barak’s firm or firm clients, he filed several documents on behalf of the firm and its clients without their knowledge or authority, the referee said. In Barak’s case against Brady, Brady filed a fake confession of judgment in his own favor, according to the referee.

Brady also filed more than 100 notices of liens in Barak’s pending cases “in an attempt to grab fees from cases to which he was not entitled,” the referee said.

The referee said an aggravating factor in Brady’s case was his refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his conduct.

“This is perhaps the most profoundly implicated aggravator in this case,” the referee said. Brady “clings to his justification for his actions with a ferocity that is quite disturbing.”

In mitigation, Brady did not have any prior discipline.

Incorrect reference in third paragraph corrected on July 19.

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