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In re Berger

District of Columbia Court of Appeals


February 15, 2001

IN RE NEAL J. BERGER, PETITIONER.

Before Farrell, Ruiz and Washington, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ruiz, Associate Judge

A Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility

Submitted January 23, 2001

Petitioner was admitted to practice by the District of Columbia and New Jersey bars. On October 15, 1997, he was suspended from the practice of law for two years, and until further notice, by the Supreme Court of New Jersey for violating three provisions of New Jersey's Rules of Professional Conduct. In order to be reinstated in New Jersey, respondent was required to file a petition for reinstatement. On September 16, 1999, in a reciprocal discipline case, this court imposed an identical two-year suspension, with a showing of fitness required prior to reinstatement. See In re Berger, 737 A.2d 1033, 1045 (D.C. 1999). In recognition of New Jersey's summary reinstatement procedures, and the reciprocal nature of this case, we also accepted Bar Counsel's proposal that a suspended attorney be allowed to resume the practice of law in the District of Columbia once the attorney has demonstrated fitness to practice in a summary proceeding satisfactory to the original disciplining jurisdiction, absent objection by Bar Counsel that the attorney has not met the criteria of In re Roundtree. *fn1 See Berger, 737 A.2d at 1045-46.

On October 26, 1999, petitioner filed his Reinstatement Questionnaire and Petition for Reinstatement with the Board. The New Jersey Supreme Court summarily reinstated petitioner on December 21, 1999. *fn2 Bar Counsel filed a motion in support of summary reinstatement of petitioner with the Board on March 17, 2000, *fn3 concluding that petitioner had satisfied each of the five Roundtree criteria. On July 21, 2000, the Board recommended that petitioner be reinstated and, as contemplated in Berger, the fitness requirement be vacated in light of his summary reinstatement in New Jersey and Bar Counsel's conclusion that the Roundtree factors were met. When the Office of Bar Counsel and the Board concur on a petition for reinstatement, this court's already considerable deference to the Board's determination is enhanced. See In re Fogel, 728 A.2d 668, 668 (D.C. 1999). Accordingly, pursuant to the summary reinstatement proceedings we announced in Berger, 737 A.2d at 1045- 46, we vacate the fitness requirement previously imposed and reinstate Neal J. Berger to the practice of law in this jurisdiction.

So ordered.


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