Associate Who Lied to Partner Suspended for Three Months

Feb. 6, 2019, 5:12 PM

A former associate at a law firm, who lied to a partner multiple times, can’t practice for three months.

Mitigating factors supported the short suspension, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division said in a per curiam opinion.

The partner asked Dennis McCoobery to draft an appellate brief. He complied, but filed the brief without telling the partner.

When the partner asked about the brief, McCoobery gave him an alleged draft, which the partner edited. McCoobery didn’t fess up until the partner confronted him.

In another case, McCoobery was told to send an appellate brief to the printer and ask that it be served on opposing counsel and filed with the court. McCoobery had the brief printed, but not ask that it be served and filed.

After realizing his mistake, McCoobery had the brief served and filed. He then concocted an elaborate scheme to conceal his dereliction, which included writing a fake reply brief and creating phony email messages between him and opposing counsel.

The partner wrote a reply brief to McCoobery’s fake one, but it wasn’t until after the case didn’t appear on the docket McCoobery said it would, that he came clean to the partner and resigned.

McCoobery was charged by the bar counsel with engaging in fraud, neglecting a legal matter, and engaging in conduct that reflected adversely on his fitness as a lawyer.

The short suspension was warranted because no one was hurt by McCoobery’s deception, he had a clean professional record, and his father was dying of terminal cancer during the time in question, the court said.

The case is In re McCoobery, 2019 BL 36521, N.Y. App. Div., No. M-3649, 2/5/19.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bernie Pazanowski in Washington at bpazanowski@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; C. Reilly Larson at rlarson@bloomberglaw.com

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