BATON ROUGE – A former Baton Rouge
personal injury lawyer who was disbarred seven years ago has been reinstated.
E. Eric Guirard was allowed to resume practicing
law in the state by the Louisiana Supreme Court on Apr. 22.
of the recommendation of the hearing committee and disciplinary board, and
considering the record, it is ordered that E. Eric Guirard, also known as Eric
J. Guirard, Louisiana Bar Roll number 18242, be immediately readmitted to the
practice of law in Louisiana, subject to a two-year period of supervised probation,”
the Court wrote in its decision.
In May 2009, Guirard and his then-partner,
Thomas R. Pittenger, were disbarred for engaging in
conflicts of interest, allowing
non-attorneys on their staff to practice law, and for paying improper fees and
incentives to staff for client referrals.
Guirard and Pittenger eventually sold their
law firm, E. Eric Guirard and Associates, to the personal injury law firm of Dudley, DeBosier and Peltier.
is remarkable that the Louisiana Supreme Court reinstated a disbarred attorney
that it had previously found guilty of engaging in a ‘pattern of misconduct’
involving numerous conflicts of interest and impermissible fee sharing
arrangements,” Melissa Landry, executive director for the Louisiana Lawsuit
Abuse Watch, told the Louisiana Record.
Pittenger was reinstated last March and
is also subject to 2 years of supervised probation.
Guirard, whose advertisements on
billboards, radio and television promised clients the “E Guarantee,” filed an
application for readmission with the disciplinary board in 2014, stating he had
complied with the readmission criteria set by the high court.
“In its previous ruling, the high court
made clear that Guirard and his former law partner who was also disbarred and
reinstated, ‘harmed their clients’ while the Office of Disciplinary Council
found they ‘consciously and intentionally’ violated ethics rules. The penalty
for such egregious practices is just seven years of disbarment?” Landry said.
According to court documents, a hearing committee recommended
Guirard’s readmission, subject to 3years of
supervised probation. But the Office of Disciplinary Counsel objected to the
recommendation, and a disciplinary board recommended the denial of Guirard’s
“This slap on the wrist for such
serious violations of the law sends the wrong message to citizens that the
legal system is rigged to protect lawyers, not their clients,” Landry said.