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NOTA BENE, Latin for "note well." Each month N.B. will feature ethics, professionalism and board developments.

Pushed Beyond Your Legal Limits

By Penya M. Moses, JD, LLM

Penya Moses is a licensed attorney in Louisiana and has had a successful career working in both traditional and non-traditional legal settings for over 25 years.  She is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Grambling State University. Penya was a speaker at the LADB Free CLE programs in both New Orleans and Pineville and addressed the timely and important topic of wellness in the legal profession.

While legal work can be incredibly fulfilling, it can also by nature be stressful and overwhelming. Lawyers intellectually understand that sleep, diet, and exercise are the cornerstones of good health. But often attorneys sacrifice sleep and healthy habits to meet unrealistic expectations. It sometimes seems as if it doesn’t matter if a health or personal issue surfaces – the work must get done and billed day in and day out.

For attorneys, there seems to be a sense that the recipe for success is, no matter what the circumstance, to always appear strong, endlessly capable, and able to handle unusual amounts of pressure. This heightened sense of responsibility, carried over time, undoubtedly takes its toll on many of us.

I can personally and very directly relate to feeling stressed and overwhelmed at times by life’s surprises. In a short period of time, I suffered the loss of three nuclear family members,a marriage, and a job. I battled health issues and withstood the emotional toll of the pandemic. After surviving what seemed un-survivable...


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Recent Decisions from the Louisiana Supreme Court

IN RE ROBERT BARTHOLOMEW EVANS III (Metairie), 2022-B-1439 (1/27/23): The Court disbarred the respondent for making multiple misrepresentations in connection with the filing of an ex parte motion to withdraw more than $200,000 in disputed funds from the registry of the court.  The respondent also repeatedly engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after he was placed on interim suspension.

IN RE W. JAMES SINGLETON (Shreveport), 2022-B-1338 (1/27/23): The Court suspended the respondent for one year and one day for grossly mishandling a client’s settlement funds.

IN RE ERIN L. TYRER (Conifer, CO), 2022-B-1632 (2/14/23): The Court suspended the respondent for eighteen months, with all but one year deferred, for driving while intoxicated and using cocaine.  The suspension was made retroactive to the effective date of her interim suspension (11/4/20).

IN RE ALTON BATES II (Baton Rouge), 2022-B-1357 (1/27/23): The Court suspended the respondent for one year and one day, with all but six months deferred, for settling a case without his client’s knowledge or consent, failing to deposit the settlement funds into a client trust account, failing to prepare a disbursement statement, failing to disburse the client’s portion of the funds to her, and failing to inform the client of the settlement for years.

IN RE JASON BRUZIK (Harahan), 2022-B-1576 (2/7/23): The Court suspended the respondent for one year and one day, fully deferred, for structuring his written fee agreement as an hourly-fee arrangement and then routinely treating it as a flat-fee arrangement, including provisions in the fee agreement charging unreasonable and improper fees, including provisions in the fee agreement making the advanced fee non-refundable, failing to deposit clients’ advanced funds into a trust account, and failing to refund unearned fees totaling $3,524.50 to four clients.

IN RE CARL JOSEPH RACHAL (Lafayette), 2022-B-1636 (2/14/23): The Court suspended the respondent for sixty days, fully deferred, for neglecting a client’s matter.

Consent Discipline:

IN RE JONI M. BUQUOI (Gonzales), 2022-B-1737 (2/14/23): The Court suspended the respondent for six months, fully deferred, for neglecting a legal matter, improperly dividing legal fees, failing to deposit advanced fees and costs into her client trust account, and commingling her attorney’s fees with client funds in her trust account.

IN RE STEPHEN J. SIMONE (Kenner), 2022-B-1773 (2/14/23): The Court publicly reprimanded the respondent for mishandling his client trust account.

Reinstatement/Readmission Matters:

IN RE NEIL DENNIS WILLIAM MONTGOMERY (Geismar), 2022-OB-1756 (2/14/23): Conditional reinstatement granted.

Permanent Resignation in Lieu of Discipline:

IN RE JENNIFER R. TREADWAY (New Orleans), 2023-OB-0005 (2/14/23).


See All Recent Decisions

Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
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