Young Lawyers Beware!

The Indiana Supreme Court recently suspended a young lawyer for at least two years for breaching 19 ethics rules.

In a per Curiam opinion, the justices reprimanded Coleman, for engaging in “systemic malfeasance” that reflected “exceedingly poorly on his fitness to practice law.”

Coleman’s violations included, but were not limited to, the following:

  • Falsely associating with Jonnie Cochran’s firm to gain clients;
  • Falsely inflating his resume;
  • Providing incompetent representation in child molestation case;
  • Negotiating an unauthorized plea deal;
  • Refusing to relinquish case file to replacement counsel;
  • Charging an unreasonable fee;
  • Entering into a “new fee agreement” under false pretenses; and
  • Concealing a relationship with witness/deponent.

The court noted that this case involved a single client and the lawyer had no prior disciplinary record, which weighed in Coleman’s favor. Therefore, the justices concluded that Coleman “should be suspended from the practice of law in [Indiana] for at least two years without automatic reinstatement.”

Professionalism and ethics are the cornerstones of the profession. Established lawyers know this, but young lawyers must come to understand that it is imperative that you maintain professional and ethical standards throughout your legal career. Otherwise, it could cost you the opportunity to practice.

Fortunately for Coleman, he may petition the Court for reinstatement to the practice of law so long as he completes his suspension, fulfills his duties of his suspension, and cures the causes of his suspension.

For the full opinion, click here.

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