The Lawletter Vol 46 No 5
Amy Gore—Senior Attorney, National Legal Research Group
Recently, the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court suspended the law license of Rudy Giuliani, pending a fuller hearing in In re Giuliani, 197 A.D.3d 1, 146 N.Y.S.3d 266 (2021). Without getting mired in any of the political ramifications the suspension of Giuliani may trigger, this ruling provides a useful procedural and substantive framework for evaluating the limits of advocacy by attorneys, both inside and outside of a courtroom.
In this case, multiple complaints were filed before the New York Attorney Grievance Committee ("AGC") based primarily on alleged false statements made by Giuliani in various filings before multiple courts as well as statements made to the press and before other groups during the course of his representation of Donald Trump and the Trump Campaign. The AGC is the administrative entity charged with investigating allegations of attorney misconduct in violation of the New York Rule of Professional Conduct, 22 NYCRR 1240.7, upon receipt of a written complaint. One of the procedural mechanisms available to the AGC is to motion to the Appellate Division a request for interim suspension when "uncontroverted evidence of professional misconduct" has been demonstrated. 22 NYCRR 1240.9(a)(5). While the result in Giuliani was an immediate suspension, attorneys retain the right to a complete investigation and hearing. 22 NYCRR 1240.9(c); see Annotation, Validity and Construction of Procedures to Temporarily Suspend Attorney from Practice, or Place Attorney on Inactive Status, Pending Investigation of, and Action upon, Disciplinary Charges, 80 A.L.R.4th 136 (1990 & Supp.).