Attorney Misconduct, Lawyer of the Day, Pro Bono

Above the Law Lawyer of the Day: William DiSalvatore

William Disalvatore Above the Law.JPGThe lawyers who get accused of professional misconduct are often solo practitioners, or partners in tiny firms you’ve never heard of. So it’s refreshing when a Biglaw partner gets nailed on ethical charges. And it’s especially refreshing when the lawyer involved was once named by the National Law Journal as one of the country’s top litigators under 40.
His name? William P. DiSalvatore. His firm? Prestigious powerhouse WilmerHale (New York office). His inappropriate conduct? Uh, how much time do you have?

A former rising star in the intellectual property practice of WilmerHale has resigned from the bar after admitting to a litany of misconduct, including falsifying expense reports, forging client signatures and assigning associates to perform “pro bono” work for friends and family….

In his affidavit, Mr. DiSalvatore admitted to misconduct of unusual breadth. He said he had falsified credit card receipts to claim reimbursement from his firm for $109,000 in personal expenses. He also said he forged client signatures on a consent to joint representation and on a conflict waiver. He also admitted misleading a client into believing an appellate brief was still at the draft stage when it had already been filed.

Wow, that’s quite impressive. And there’s more. Check it out after the jump.

The NYLJ piece continues:

In perhaps his most elaborate deception, Mr. DiSalvatore convinced his firm over a two-year period that he was handling matters for two of the firm’s pro bono clients.

“I created fabricated engagement letters and fictitious billing records, falsely recording time for work which I never performed,” he said in his affidavit.

So this wasn’t just run-of-the-mill-fraud, like a lawyer dipping into client funds. DiSalvatore actually developed and carried out a creative, complex, sophisticated fraudulent scheme. It went undetected for two years.
Biglaw has redeemed itself. When a partner at a top national law firm commits fraud, he commits fraud, dammit.
Partner Resigns Bar Over Litany Of Misconduct [New York Law Journal]

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