An Evidentiary Panel of the Grievance Committee for the State Bar of Texas has disbarred a Texas Attorney for practicing law while his license was suspended. In Commission for Lawyer Discipline v. Charles D. Septowski, an attorney was serving a three month suspension under a previous disciplinary judgment.
During his suspension, the attorney filed, or caused others to file, pleadings and other court documents in a United States Bankruptcy Court proceeding. All of the documents were filed using the attorney’s electronic case filing account, but were signed using a different lawyer’s name. The Bankruptcy Court held a hearing to review the attorney’s filings. The attorney admitted that he had instructed his paralegal to file the pleadings while he was suspended, and that he did not have authority to sign the other lawyer’s name.
After the attorney’s suspension was completed, he submitted an application to be admitted pro hac vice in a case pending in a Bankruptcy Court, where he was not admitted to practice. In his application, the attorney misrepresented the nature of his prior suspensions, claiming it had resulted from failing to pay bar dues timely.
The attorney’s conduct was reviewed by an Evidentiary Panel of the Texas Bar Grievance Committee. The Panel found that the attorney had committed professional misconduct by engaging in the unlicensed practice of law, and by misrepresenting facts to the Bankruptcy Court. The Panel issued an order, disbarring the attorney and requiring him to pay all attorneys’ fees and costs incurred as a result of his disciplinary proceedings.
Decision: Commission for Lawyer Discipline v. Septowski