Attorney Disbarred For Borrowing $212,500 From Grieving Client

On March 25, 2020, an appellate court covering Suffolk County found that a Riverhead attorney had taken advantage of a grieving widow who had just received $300,000 in life insurance proceeds following the death of her husband. The attorney was retained by the widow to file a petition for probate. The attorney told the widow that she operated a Christian Bookstore that was on the brink of foreclosure and that it was "God's plan" for the widow to help save it from an imminent sale. Over the next 9 months the attorney borrowed substantial sums of money on six separate occasions totaling $212,500. The court found that some of the loans were coerced by threats that all of the money previously loaned would be lost if an additional loan was not extended.

Disbarment was warranted according to the decision because the attorney: never advised the client to seek independent counsel; never memorialized the existence or terms of the loans in writing; refused to repay the loans and falsely claimed they were gifts; lacked candor and showed no remorse. An aggravating circumstance found was the attorney told the client that "the Lord had chosen her" to save the Christian Bookstore. A violation of Rule 8.4 of the Rules of Professional Conduct was found. Matter of Gilliam, 121 N.Y.S. 3d 348

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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