Lavery, Matter of, C

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Washington
Citation90 Wn.2d 463,587 P.2d 157
Docket NumberNo. C,C
PartiesIn the Matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against Michael F. LAVERY, an Attorney at Law. D. 9549.
Decision Date07 September 1978

Page 463

90 Wn.2d 463
587 P.2d 157
In the Matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against
Michael F. LAVERY, an Attorney at Law.
No. C.D. 9549.
Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc.
Sept. 7, 1978.

Page 464

Robert T. Farrell and Christopher C. Pence, Seattle, for Bar ass'n.

Michael F. Lavery, pro se.

HOROWITZ, Justice.

The Washington State Bar Association has recommended to this court that Michael F. Lavery be suspended from the practice of law for a period of 30 days. For the reasons set out hereinafter, we impose a suspension for a period of 90 days.

Michael Lavery graduated from law school in May 1975 with a cumulative grade point average of 2.322. After failing the bar examination that summer, he undertook what he describes as a research project, apparently designed to reflect his disillusionment and discouragement with law school and the legal profession. He falsified his law school transcript to show a grade point average of 3.79 and wrote bogus and extremely favorable letters of recommendation over the photocopied signatures of several of his law school professors. These falsified documents were sent to prospective employers, both public and private, with letters of application for a job. The purpose of this project, according to respondent, was to find out if it is not What you know, but Who you know, that counts when a young law graduate looks for a job. In the meantime he passed the February 1976 bar examination and was admitted to the practice of law in May 1976.

Andrew Aberle, an attorney in Timber Lake, South Dakota, was one of those receiving a letter of application

Page 465

and altered transcript from respondent. Mr. Aberle wrote in answer, expressing his interest and requesting more information. In respondent's letter of reply he enclosed altered letters of recommendation and a note from his wife expressing her eagerness to move from Washington to the farm country of South Dakota. Mr. Aberle attempted to verify respondent's references and discovered, through conversations with law school personnel, that they had been falsified. He then terminated his consideration of respondent's application. The professors whose names had been wrongly used in the letters, informed of respondent's activities by Mr. Aberle, discussed the matter with the dean of the law school, who subsequently filed a complaint with the Bar Association against respondent.

[587 P.2d 158] The Bar Association filed a formal complaint against respondent in November 1976. Respondent answered by an unsworn statement denying the charges. He had written a letter of explanation to the Association, describing his research project and his reasons for carrying it out. He disclaimed any intention of interviewing for or accepting a job based on the false documents he had prepared. He submitted to the Association a manuscript and diary, and numerous letters and information sheets from prospective employers, as documentation of his research project. The brief manuscript is a personal account of his disillusionment with law school and belief that the search for employment is influenced by factors other than competence. The materials and letters from respondent consistently reflect his troubled state of mind and negative attitude toward the institution of the practice of law. Respondent did not have any institutional sponsorship for his project, nor approval from his law school professors for the misuse he made of their professional credentials in the bogus letters of recommendation.

A hearing was held in February 1977. Respondent was served with a subpoena duces tecum, but did not appear at the hearing or give notice of his intent not to appear. He wrote to the Association later that his work hours were such

Page 466

that he could not...

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6 cases
  • Belsher, In re, 1
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • November 1, 1984
    ...... disciplinary measures on attorneys is to protect the public from misconduct and preserve its confidence in the judicial system." In re Lavery, 90 Wash.2d 463, 467, 587 P.2d 157 (1978). See also Eddleman, 77 Wash.2d at 43, 459 P.2d 387 ("First, our concern in these matters is for the ......
  • Attorney Grievance v. Floyd, Misc. Docket (Subtitle AG) No. 31, September Term, 2006.
    • United States
    • Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
    • July 30, 2007
    ...(N.Y.App.Div.1981) (dishonest conduct for submitting false and misleading résumé to prospective employer); In re Lavery, 90 Wash.2d 463, 587 P.2d 157 (1978) (misconduct involving dishonesty and misrepresentation when attorney falsified his résumé, transcript, and letters of The fact that th......
  • Lamberis, In re, 56121
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • December 17, 1982
    ...Ill.2d 382, 391, 17 Ill.Dec. 214, 376 N.E.2d 213 (attorney disciplined for fraud in sale of stock); In re Lavery (1978), 90 Wash.2d 463, 587 P.2d 157 (attorney disciplined for falsifying law school transcripts and letters of recommendation).) "The public as well as * * * the courts have an ......
  • Kumbera, Matter of, CD
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • January 5, 1979
    ...... In re Smith, 83 Wash.2d 659, 663, 521 . Page 404. P.2d 212 (1974). Accord, In re Lavery, 90 Wash.2d 463, 467, 587 P.2d 157 (1978); In re Nelson, 87 Wash.2d 77, 81, 549 P.2d 21 (1976); In re Livesey, 85 Wash.2d 189, 193, 532 P.2d 274 (1975). Yet, citation of these purposes does not determine the discipline appropriate to a particular case.         Recently, the Joint Committee ......
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