The United States Law Week

Lawyer Gets License Suspended for Bullying Judge

Dec. 12, 2018, 6:26 PM

A New York lawyer had his license suspended for trying to bully a judge that held his clients in contempt, and accusing another judge of “egregious” behavior for sanctioning him for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

A trial judge in New York ordered Jonathan Steinberg to pay $28,600 in attorneys’ fees and $5,000 to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection for filing a meritless suit on behalf of himself. He didn’t pay either fine.

At his sanction hearing, Steinberg admitted to not paying the fines, but accused the judge of conducting an ex parte sanction hearing and conspiring against him.

In another suit, Steinberg wrote an email to a different judge, criticizing his decision to hold Steinberg’s clients in contempt. Steinberg accused the judge of trying to discredit him and of “egregious” conduct.

When the judge in that case testified at Steinberg’s sanction hearing, rather than apologizing, Steinberg yelled at him and tried intimidate him. Steinberg also claimed the charges against him were filed by a corrupt disciplinary committee, and asserted he should get compensatory damages.

The New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, suspended Steinberg’s law license Dec. 11 for one year, and criticized him for his failure to acknowledge his misconduct.

The court turned down a longer, two-year recommended sentence. But it said reinstatement of Steinberg’s license after one year is conditioned on him paying his fines.

The case is In re Steinberg, 2018 BL 457302, N.Y. App. Div., 12/11/18.

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; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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