Legal Ethics

Longtime Lawyer Gets 9-Month Suspension; Groping of Client Aggravated By Character Committee Service

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Despite a hitherto-unblemished ethical record in a “long honorable” legal career of more than 40 years, a New York attorney has had his law license suspended for nine months for groping a personal injury client’s breast against her will and placing her hand on his trousers, over his groin area.

A hearing panel concluded that the conduct, which occurred behind a closed door in Steven S. Greenberg’s law office, was aggravated by two factors: First, the vulnerability of the inexperienced claimant was noted. Second, Greenberg continued to serve on the Character and Fitness Committee from the time of the March 2007 incident, through his Sept. 2008 guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge, until attorney disciplinary charges were brought in June 2010, according to a written opinion (PDF) Tuesday by the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division.

Greenberg had sought a private reprimand. A referee recommended a public censure, a hearing panel suggested a three-month suspension of his law license and the committee called for a suspension of at least six months. The Appellate Division said a nine-month suspension was necessary “in order to deter similar misconduct and to preserve the reputation of the bar.”

Hat tip: Legal Profession Blog.

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