Supreme Court of New Jersey recently announced a new rule of disciplinary law related to attorney-client relations. In re Torre, a unanimous Court suspended the respondent for one year based upon his act of borrowing a large sum of money from a vulnerable, elderly client and then failing to repay it. The Chief Justice noted that in a case like this if there were clear and convincing proof that an attorney knew at the time he borrowed money from a trusting client that he would not repay it, disbarment would be appropriate. The discipline imposed is meant to provide notice to attorneys that serious consequences will result from this form of misconduct.
As a client you should take away two things from this. First, clear and convincing is much lower standard than beyond reasonable doubt so the threshold to disbar an attorney for such behavior is not very high. Two, if you’re my client and are not vulnerable and/or elderly please feel free to lend me as much money as you like.