Massachusetts attorney faces reciprocal disbarment in California

By Karen Kidd | Apr 16, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO – Newton, Massachusetts attorney Lawrence Joseph McSwiggan faces possible reciprocal disbarment following a March 8 California State Bar Court recommendation and a lengthy suspension in the east coast commonwealth.

Disbarment became the default recommendation in California after McSwiggan failed to participate in the California State Bar Court proceeding and his default was entered in September, according to the court's nine-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment.

The state bar's recommendation is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the state bar's review department or expiration of time in which parties may request further review within the state bar court.

McSwiggan's recommended discipline was among the dispositions contained in a notification provided to the Northern California Record last week by The State Bar of California.

McSwiggan was admitted to the bar in California on June 1, 2001, according to his profile at the state bar website. He was admitted to the bar in Massachusetts on Dec. 30, 2005, according to several bar documents in that state.

McSwiggan has been suspended in Massachusetts since December 2016 after he allegedly failed to cooperate with a Massachusetts Bar Association investigation into a check that bounced on his client trust account, according to Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers' summary issued in December 2017.

McSwiggan was suspended in February 2017 for non-registration, which the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court imposed the following December.

Disbarment in California would not be the first time McSwiggan has been reciprocally disciplined on the West Coast for alleged misconduct in Massachusetts, according to the decision and order. In December 2014, the California Supreme Court handed down a stayed one-year suspension and placed McSwiggan on a year of conditional probation after he was publicly reprimanded in Massachusetts the previous year.

The public reprimand was handed down after McSwiggan allegedly practiced law in seven client matters while on administrative suspension for failing to register with the Massachusetts board of bar overseers and failing to pay registration fees. McSwiggan otherwise had no prior record of discipline at the time and entered into a prefiled stipulation with The State Bar of California in which he acknowledged the misconduct.

McSwiggan had no prior record of discipline and acknowledged his misconduct in a prefiling stipulation with the California bar.

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