Lawyer Suspended for Convincing Clients to Pay Him from the Proceeds of a Mortgage Refinancing
In Florida Bar v. Head, 27 So. 3d 1 (Fla. 2010) the court suspended a lawyer for one year after he created a conflict of interest between himself and his clients by convincing them to pay him $ 10,000 from the proceeds of a mortgage refinancing when his clients' primary objective in arranging the mortgage refinancing had been to pay off their biggest creditor and paying the lawyer $ 10,000 frustrated that objective. Head, 27 So. 3d at 9.
In addition, the lawyer was not forthcoming in advising the bankruptcy court in his clients' case that he had received $ 10,000 in fees.
He also filed a "Suggestion of Bankruptcy" for his firm in his clients' bankruptcy case when he had not filed a petition for bankruptcy for the firm. Id. at 5.
In Florida Bar v. Herman, 8 So. 3d 1100 (Fla. 2009) the court suspended a lawyer for eighteen months for going into direct business competition with a client of his firm and representing both companies without advising the first client of the conflict or obtaining a waiver. Herman, 8 So. 3d at 1103.
The court found his failure to inform his first client about his own company was "dishonest and deceitful" and motivated by "monetary concerns." Id.