For a plaintiff’s legal malpractice attorney, the idea of an uncollectable trial verdict is abhorrent. The balance of this decision in Matter of Heller, 2022 NY Slip Op 01877, Decided on March 17, 2022, Appellate Division, First Department is similarly a disgrace.
“Respondent Mark J. Heller was admitted to the practice of law in the State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on December 22, 1969, under the name Mark Jay Heller. At all times relevant to this proceeding, he has maintained a registered business address within the First Department.
In 1994, this Court suspended respondent from the practice of law for a period of five years for a pattern of misconduct committed in connection with 12 separate client matters which included dishonesty, neglect, and failure to return unearned fees (195 AD2d 134 [1st Dept 1994]). He was reinstated on July 15, 1999 (263 AD2d 401 [1st Dept 1999]).
Respondent now seeks an order, pursuant to the Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR) 1240.10, accepting his resignation as an attorney and counselor-at- law licensed to practice in the State of New York.
In support of the application, respondent has submitted his affidavit of resignation, which conforms to the format set forth in Appendix A to 22 NYCRR 1240.10.[FN1] Respondent attests that he is also admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Respondent acknowledges that he is currently the subject of an investigation by the Attorney Grievance Committee (AGC) concerning four matters. In a matrimonial matter respondent acknowledges that he engaged in multiple acts of professional misconduct that include, charging an excessive fee, failure to submit timely invoices, and neglecting the matter by failing to finalize the judgment of divorce. He further acknowledges that the client in the matrimonial matter sued him for malpractice and breach of contract and obtained a judgment against him after trial in the amount of $523,536.00 with interest that he has not paid.
As to the three other matters under investigation, respondent acknowledges that he engaged in at least the following acts of professional misconduct: he failed to communicate with a client in a criminal matter; he failed to provide a retainer agreement to a client in a criminal matter; and he neglected a client matter in a criminal case. Respondent attests that he cannot successfully defend against the allegations based upon the facts and circumstances of his professional conduct as described herein. Respondent attests that his resignation is freely and voluntarily rendered, without coercion or duress by anyone, and with full awareness of the consequences, including that the Court’s acceptance and approval shall result in the entry of an order of disbarment striking his name from the roll of attorneys and counselors-at-law.”