The Indiana Supreme Court has decided the sanction for a Goshen attorney’s repeated practice of law while suspended: disbarment.
Joseph Lehman was suspended for at least two years, effective April 3, 2014, for repeated violations of professional conduct rules. He improperly disposed of closed case files resulting in the disclosure of confidential information, improperly managed his trust account, and was systemically negligent in representing clients, among other things.
Yet, around the time his suspension began, he entered an appearance as counsel for a mother in a paternity action. He also performed legal work for two other clients during his suspension. In fact, these actions formed the basis of his convictions Class B misdemeanors practicing law by a non-attorney, which the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld in May.
“Respondent’s repeated contemptuous acts over the years have resulted in fines, imprisonment, and the suspension of his law license. None of the sanctions previously imposed has deterred Respondent from continuing to engage in the practice of law in defiance of his suspension order, and Respondent’s repeated violations of that order have exposed the public to the danger of misconduct by an attorney who has yet to prove his remorse, rehabilitation, and fitness to practice law through the reinstatement process. Under these circumstances, the Court concludes that disbarment is warranted,” the justices write in the per curiam opinion in In the Matter of: Joseph C. Lehman, 20S00-1507-DI-431.
The disbarment is effective immediately. Lehman was admitted to practice in 1991.
The order comes just one day after the justices disbarred Indianapolis attorney Tim Durham for his role in defrauding investors in his company of more than $200 million dollars.