Defending New Jersey Attorney Ethics Matters

defending attorney ethics complaints

The Nissenbaum Law Group accepts engagements involving New Jersey attorneys accused of breaching the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Mr. Nissenbaum was a member of the District XII Ethics Committee for five years. Ultimately, he was appointed Vice Chairman, and later Chairman, of the Committee (2006/2007). During his tenure on the Committee, Mr. Nissenbaum gained experience investigating ethics grievances; supervising grievance investigations; and conducting hearings relating to grievances that had reached the complaint stage. These hearings involved allegations of serious ethical infractions. As of September 1, 2007, Mr. Nissenbaum completed his term with the District XII Ethics Committee and was thereafter available to defend attorneys accused of ethical infractions.

The Firm’s Approach to Defending Attorneys Accused of Ethical Infractions

Although ethics matters can reach disposition at the District Ethics Committee level, if they are serious enough, they may be handled directly by the Office of Attorney Ethics. Over the years, the Nissenbaum Law Group has defended attorneys at various points from initial submissions at the investigatory stage; to filing verified answers at the ethics complaint stage; to handling full-blown contested hearings and even providing oral argument before the Disciplinary Review Board. The Nissenbaum Law Group also is equipped to handle alleged violations of the Attorney Advertising Rules. RPC 7.2

There is more than one way to defend against accusations of ethical infractions. The initial Grievance should be seen not as an opportunity to provide the least amount of information possible, but instead as a means of telling the entire story in a robust and thoughtful way that can potentially convince the investigator and/or those supervising him or her that it is appropriate to drop the matter. If that is not availing, there are sometimes other points in the investigatory stage at which the matter may still be resolved. However, if the matter cannot be resolved, and it proceeds to the hearing stage before a Special Ethics Master or other finder of fact, the Nissenbaum Law Group will vigorously defend it.

The key is that each case is unique and requires a nuanced and customized approach. That is the hallmark of how the firm represents attorneys facing an accusation of wrongdoing.

The Firm’s Approach to Random Audits of IOLTA Attorney Trust Accounts

Sometimes, an ethics representation begins innocuously as a random audit of an IOLTA Attorney Trust Account. Accordingly, it is critical that an attorney being audited view that process as one that may evolve into an ethics Grievance.

The Nissenbaum Law Group’s approach to such audits is proactive. It interviews the client to elicit the responses they would give to the auditor. This allows the firm to assess the problem areas that the client may be overlooking. Thereafter, it analyzes client files, bookkeeping and bank account information to see if there are ways to explain the issues in a manner that the auditor will find acceptable. Moreover, if there are gaps or errors that need to be addressed in the accounting and reconciliation process, the firm may suggest that a forensic accounting firm be added to the mix.

The Nissenbaum Law Group views random trust account audits as serious matters that require a defense team to assess the problem areas and proceed to address them proactively.




Contact the Nissenbaum Law Group to Schedule an Appointment at
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