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.”


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Andrew Lavoott Bluestone

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened…

Andrew Lavoott Bluestone has been an attorney for 40 years, with a career that spans criminal prosecution, civil litigation and appellate litigation. Mr. Bluestone became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County in 1978, entered private practice in 1984 and in 1989 opened his private law office and took his first legal malpractice case.

Since 1989, Bluestone has become a leader in the New York Plaintiff’s Legal Malpractice bar, handling a wide array of plaintiff’s legal malpractice cases arising from catastrophic personal injury, contracts, patents, commercial litigation, securities, matrimonial and custody issues, medical malpractice, insurance, product liability, real estate, landlord-tenant, foreclosures and has defended attorneys in a limited number of legal malpractice cases.

Bluestone also took an academic role in field, publishing the New York Attorney Malpractice Report from 2002-2004.  He started the “New York Attorney Malpractice Blog” in 2004, where he has published more than 4500 entries.

Mr. Bluestone has written 38 scholarly peer-reviewed articles concerning legal malpractice, many in the Outside Counsel column of the New York Law Journal. He has appeared as an Expert witness in multiple legal malpractice litigations.

Mr. Bluestone is an adjunct professor of law at St. John’s University College of Law, teaching Legal Malpractice.  Mr. Bluestone has argued legal malpractice cases in the Second Circuit, in the New York State Court of Appeals, each of the four New York Appellate Divisions, in all four of  the U.S. District Courts of New York and in Supreme Courts all over the state.  He has also been admitted pro haec vice in the states of Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida and was formally admitted to the US District Court of Connecticut and to its Bankruptcy Court all for legal malpractice matters. He has been retained by U.S. Trustees in legal malpractice cases from Bankruptcy Courts, and has represented municipalities, insurance companies, hedge funds, communications companies and international manufacturing firms. Mr. Bluestone regularly lectures in CLEs on legal malpractice.

Based upon his professional experience Bluestone was named a Diplomate and was Board Certified by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys in 2008 in Legal Malpractice. He remains Board Certified.  He was admitted to The Best Lawyers in America from 2012-2019.  He has been featured in Who’s Who in Law since 1993.

In the last years, Mr. Bluestone has been featured for two particularly noteworthy legal malpractice cases.  The first was a settlement of an $11.9 million dollar default legal malpractice case of Yeo v. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman which was reported in the NYLJ on August 15, 2016. Most recently, Mr. Bluestone obtained a rare plaintiff’s verdict in a legal malpractice case on behalf of the City of White Plains v. Joseph Maria, reported in the NYLJ on February 14, 2017. It was the sole legal malpractice jury verdict in the State of New York for 2017.

Bluestone has been at the forefront of the development of legal malpractice principles and has contributed case law decisions, writing and lecturing which have been recognized by his peers.  He is regularly mentioned in academic writing, and his past cases are often cited in current legal malpractice decisions. He is recognized for his ample writings on Judiciary Law § 487, a 850 year old statute deriving from England which relates to attorney deceit.