On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility (BDN 171-05)
Submitted October 31, 2006
Before RUIZ and FISHER, Associate Judges, and SCHWELB, Senior Judge.
On March 31, 2006, in this reciprocal disciplinary proceeding, the Board on Professional Responsibility recommended that Steven F. Goldman, a member of our Bar, be suspended from practice in the District of Columbia for five years and that his reinstatement be conditioned upon proof of fitness to practice. Neither Bar Counsel nor Goldman has excepted to this recommendation, and we adopt it.
In 2004, Goldman resigned from the New York Bar while he was the subject of an investigation by that state's disciplinary authorities of allegations of misconduct. On December 16, 2004, Goldman executed a Resignation Affidavit in which he represented that the New York Disciplinary Committee
(1) is alleging that . . . I received settlement monies on behalf of four clients [totaling $76,500], that I withdrew funds from these settlements without the knowledge and consent of the aforementioned clients, and that I used the settlement monies for my own purposes before remitting monies to the clients.
(2) I am also aware that the Committee is alleging that I failed to retain full records for my attorney trust accounts . . . .
Goldman further "acknowledge[d] that if the charges described in [the foregoing paragraphs] were filed, I could not successfully defend myself on the merits against such charges." On the basis of the facts admitted by Goldman in his affidavit, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court (First Department) removed Goldman's name from the roll of attorneys authorized to practice in New York. Under New York law, the effect of the Appellate Division's order was that Goldman became ineligible to seek reinstatement until seven years after the effective date of his resignation. See N.Y. COMP. CODES R. & REGS. tit. 22, § 603.14 (2006).
In the District of Columbia, a sister court's acceptance of an attorney's resignation pending a disciplinary investigation is a proper predicate for reciprocal discipline. In re Richardson, 692 A.2d 427, 431 (D.C. 1997). The discipline recommended by the Board in this case -- suspension for five years, with reinstatement conditioned on proof of fitness -- is functionally identical to the sanction imposed in New York. See e.g., In re Angel, 889 A.2d 993 (D.C. 2005) (per curiam); In re Brown, 797 A.2d 1232 (D.C. 2002) (per curiam).*fn1 No party has objected to the proposed sanction. Goldman has represented in an affidavit filed in these proceedings that "I do not believe that permanent disbarrment is appropriate in my case" and he requests that "my period of suspension be coterminous with the seven-year period that I have to wait before I can apply for reinstatement in New York." Bar Counsel has advised the court that he takes no exception to the Board's recommendation. Where no party has objected to the discipline proposed by the Board, the court's ordinarily deferential standard is even more deferential. In re Goldsborough, 654 A.2d 1285, 1288 (D.C. 1995). Accordingly, Steven F. Goldman is hereby suspended from practice in the District of Columbia for a period of five years, with reinstatement conditioned upon proof of fitness to practice.