Well, maybe not. Everyone saw it coming. Former high-powered, San Diego plaintiff lawyer Bill Lerach has been officially disbarred.
The State Bar made that move quietly on March 12, but didn’t bring it to public attention until earlier this week when it distributed its monthly list of attorneys who have been disbarred, suspended or punished in some other manner.
Lerach was sentenced to two years in a federal prison in February 2008, a few months after pleading guilty to a conspiracy involving kickbacks to a Beverly Hills doctor who fingered Lerach in exchange for leniency in an unrelated art fraud case.
State Bar Court Presiding Judge Joann Remke recommended disbarment in October, based on Lerach’s conviction. The California Supreme Court agreed in February.
Bill Lerach seeking reinstatement could fall on the last day. Of everything. Be warned, after the jump.
Even if Lerach gets out on time next year, State Bar rules will not allow him to seek reinstatement until the five-year anniversary of his interim suspension. That date is Dec. 21, 2012, which is also the date the world ends, according to nutjob fans of the expiring Mayan calendar. Make of that what you will.
Reinstatement isn’t easy. Assuming the world isn’t destroyed by Quetzalcoatl, Lerach will have to pay the costs of his disciplinary trial, prove he is current (as of 2012) in his learning and ability in the law, and show he has been rehabilitated. If the State Bar doesn’t agree he’s learned his lesson, he’ll have to go to State Bar Court and prove it at trial.
In the meantime, Lerach, who turns 66 that year, could work as a paralegal as long as his employer notifies the State Bar.
Lerach is being held in the Federal Correctional Institution in Safford, Ariz., a low-security facility for male offenders. And he’s not even the big news in town these days.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case of a school girl who had been stripped searched by teachers searching for an ibuprofen pill. That search took place in the Safford Unified School District.
— Mike McKee