Every few months the Florida Supreme Court lays down the law on attorneys who've been acting a fool.
Last time around the court doled out 22 reprimands, including the disbarment of five attorneys. This round is a bit more tame: 18 attorneys disciplined, including two who were disbarred and five who were publicly reprimanded.
People in need of a lawyer tend to have enough crap going on in their lives that they don't need the added stress of working with a shyster. That said, it's probably best to avoid the following nearby attorneys.
4. Allen Frederick Bennett
Home turf: Delray Beach
What the court says he did: Nothing too bad here, just found in contempt of the court's orders conditionally admitting him.
Punishment: Publicly reprimanded.
3. Andrew Alexander Byer
Home turf: Fort Lauderdale
What the court says he did: Byer was found guilty of domestic violence and sentenced to eight months in jail. Then he tried to keep everything hush hush and failed to report felony charges or misdemeanor battery conviction, which is required by the Florida Bar.
Punishment: Suspended for one year.
2. Shane Ludwig Stafford
Home turf: Lake Worth
What the court says he did: Practiced law with the middle name Ludwig. Just kidding. This one's a bit complicated and involves a bogus investment into a co-workers "dress design business." Seriously. According to the court, "Stafford shared legal fees with a paralegal who was an employee of his law firm. The paralegal referred Stafford's firm to a person with a malpractice claim and Stafford subsequently referred the case to another firm. After the second firm was successful in obtaining a large settlement for the client, Stafford's firm received $500,000. Stafford then gave the paralegal $150,000 of the money and characterized it is an investment into the employee's dress design business."
Punishment: Suspended for 90 days. What happened to the dress design business remains unclear.
1. Alan Kelman
Home turf: Boca Raton
What the court says he did: Kelman played by his own rules, damn it! And by that, we mean that he "demonstrated a pattern of willful non-compliance with bar rules and was held in contempt of the Florida Supreme Court." Whoa. It's one thing to be held in contempt by some rinky dink district court, but Kelman is clearly ambitious when it comes to contempt-- he was held in contempt on two other occasions last year, which got him suspended.
Punishment: Disbarred. While Kelman can seek readmission, the Supreme Court says only 5 percent of attorneys who get disbarred try to get back in.
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