LOS ANGELES — Delray Beach, Florida, attorney William Robert Cohen was suspended from practicing law in California on Nov. 18 after violating his prior reproval conditions.
Cohen will be placed on a 30-day suspension in California and two years' probation, according to his profile page on the State Bar of California website. The State Bar Court of California also stipulated that Cohen must adhere to all conditions of his probation or face an additional year of suspension.
According to court documents, the initial disciplinary action was sanctioned after Cohen pleaded nolo contendere to charges of alleged misconduct committed in Michigan, where he also is licensed. Conditions of Cohen’s suspension required him to submit quarterly reports to the State Bar of California, complete the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, and provide proof of completion of at least six hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education.
Cohen failed to submit his quarterly report in October 2012 period until contacted by his probation officer. The attorney said he had prepared the reports and that his secretary had dropped the ball, although no proof was provided that that had been the case.
In addition, Cohen did not satisfy the MPRE condition of his probation. The attorney stated that he had enrolled and paid for the examination, but upon his arrival at the testing center Cohen learned he had been scammed and no such test would be administered at that location on that day. Cohen petitioned to have the requirement expunged from his probation but was unsuccessful.
Finally, Cohen provided evidence that he had completed 12.5 MCLE hours. However, the probation office determined that only four hours fell under the stipulation. The remaining hours had been taken prior to Cohen’s suspension date.
The attorney will need to meet the conditions he failed to satisfy during his 30-day suspension and probation. If he is unable to provide proof of MCLE hours, quarterly reports, and a passing score on his MPRE, he will face a suspension of one year.
In accordance with the suspension, Cohen must comply with the California Rules of Court Rule 9.20 subsections (a) and (c) if he is suspended for 90 or more days. According to the rule's definition on courts.ca.gov, the rule would require Cohen contact all of his clients about the ruling, provide all papers that are deemed necessary to clients for their cases, return any fees that are still considered unearned, and notify the opposing counsel in any pending litigation about his suspension. Cohen would then have to file with the clerk of the State Bar Court that he has complied with the provisions of his suspension.
According to his profile page, Cohen was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1999. He was declared ineligible to practice law in the state in 2004 before going back on active status in 2007.