I am reviewing the backgrounds of the "lay" members in the attorney disciplinary committees in the State of New York.
While the supermajority of members of such committees are attorneys, making it impossible for non-attorneys to carry their voices if they differ from those of attorneys, even then, the "lay" individuals appear to be carefully selected - by the courts - from the wealth and the educated, from that sector of the population that is not hurting from not being able to afford legal services and who has enough funds to simply sue their attorney for malpractice if he or she does something wrong.
It is apparent that the state-sponsored system of protection for consumers exists to protect those consumers who have no funds to do that for themselves, being poor and uneducated.
Yet, the "lay" members are:
- journalists, including "Ivy-league" educated journalists
- editors of major TV companies - all obviously not poor people
- individuals who came from "old wealth" (such as - the father is a prominent OB/GYN, chief of staff of a hospital in LA, the mother owns apartment buildings in LA, the person herself is a media producer, along with her husband);
- individuals who "serve" on a board of private schools for little privileged tykeks (K-12) where they have two children at a time enrolled, at the price tag of over $44,500 per year per each;
- financial specialists of different kinds, from CPAs to investment managers to equipment lease manager
We put market participants and wealthy and entrenched lay individuals on disciplinary committees to weed out exactly those solo, private, independent, not wealthy attorneys who actually serve the poor, and to keep afloat those who make donations and have a potential to hire these people or their companies to provide their investment or financial advice.
- Dr. Hany Ghaleb (3rd Department committee) - married to the former judge and now practicing attorney Jhilil "Jill" Ghaleb;
- Dr. Richard Maceko (4th Department) - father to the Assistant Energy Counsel Emma Maceko, graduate of the Albany Law School;
- Miles Bottrill (4th Department) - Director, the Syracuse University College of Law who has a financial interest not to vote in a way that may affect generous donations of prominent law firms to his law school, so Mr. Bottrill has a financial interest not to ever vote to discipline attorneys of donors, no matter what they do
- Louis J. Cercone, Jr. (4th Department) - Managing Director of Brisbane Consulting Group in charge of Business Valuations, Forensic Accounting, and Litigation Support Services who will lose patronage from large litigation firms if he affects their ratings and attractiveness to clients and the judiciary if he disciplines the firm or any attorney from the firm that hired him in the past or may hire him in the future, and the usual clients of such support companies are large and rich law firms, not the solo attorneys who are usually disciplined by such committees.
I am sure that for other "lay" individuals connections with the legal industry can also be found after some digging, the system usually insures herself so that no "rogue" people come on these committees to upset the apple cart for the prominent attorneys and their law firms.
So, not only the attorney-lay person ratio is slanted several times towards the market participants and against the consumers, but the voice of the real consumer is further stifled because NO consumers, NOT one low-to-middle-consumer of legal services, not one person (I am positive) with a criminal record, not one person who lost custody of a child or who is in arrears for child support and is in desperate need of affordable legal services is among the lay members.
This way, the "prominent" attorney members of the disciplinary committees have no problem eliminating competition of the solo attorneys who actually provide legal services at an affordable price to the under-served rural population and actually are accessible to their clients to talk to them at any time of day or night.
As Judge Lippman told his buddy Sheldon Silver at the time he was put on top of this pyramid of corruption - "not too shabby".