Legal Ethics

Lawyer is suspended for accessing and deleting some law firm emails after firing

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An Ohio lawyer who accessed the email accounts at the law firm that fired him and erased some controversial communications has been suspended from law practice.

The Ohio Supreme Court suspended Brandon Louis Azman for a year, with six months stayed, report the Legal Profession Blog and

According to the court’s June 15 opinion (PDF), Azman was fired from the Piscitelli Law Firm by name partner Frank Piscitelli in August 2013.

Azman asked Piscitelli for a letter of recommendation. When Piscitelli did not respond, Azman proposed that Piscitelli write the recommendation in exchange for Azman’s agreement “to make no efforts whatsoever to contact former clients of mine for the purpose of bad mouthing you, to try and steal them away or to terminate the services of the Piscitelli Law firm.”

In a reply email, Piscitelli threatened legal action if Azman contacted firm clients and forwarded the email to another office employee. At that point, Azman made use of the login credentials he had learned while working at the firm, according to the opinion.

Azman deleted the email exchange from the accounts of both Piscitelli and the other employee, and deleted other emails he sent to Piscitelli after his firing.

Azman had denied purposely deleting the emails in a deposition, but admitting deleting emails at his disciplinary hearing. The court noted that Azman had no prior record of discipline.

Cleveland lawyer Ian Friedman represented Azman. “I’m confident in saying it’s an aberrant instance,” he told “This happened some time ago.”

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