ADB hearings held at Cooley for first time

By Jo Mathis

Legal News

The Michigan Attorney Discipline Board found four attorneys guilty of professional misconduct May 9 at hearings held for the first time on the Ann Arbor campus of Cooley Law School.

"Hosting these hearings at the campus was an important event for us," said Dean Joan Vestrand. "Cooley is deeply committed to developing within its students a keen appreciation for the importance of ethics in the profession and there is no better education in this regard than to bring real lawyer disciplinary proceedings to the campus. "

The head table was comprised of the nine members of the ADB --six lawyers and three lay persons--all of whom serve by appointment of the Michigan Supreme Court to supervise and discipline Michigan attorneys.

One of that day's appeals dealt with a lawyer's misappropriation of a large sum of money from an estate. Another involved the effect of a lawyer's substance abuse on her practice. Another involved a lawyer's handling of client retainer fees and the fourth case concerned the unauthorized practice of law.

The ADB heard the appeals and issued a written order and opinion in each case.

Cooley students observed the hearings and asked questions of the lawyers for the parties as well as the board members.

"It is very important to us that our students share in our belief that competency and outstanding personal character are absolute requirements for the privilege to practice law," said Vestrand.

Following the proceedings, the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission met with the discipline board during the first-ever meeting of these two boards.

This is just one of dozens of professionalism initiatives at Cooley designed to develop graduates with a strong commitment to high standards of personal and professional conduct, Vestrand said.

Published: Mon, May 14, 2012