Baton Rouge attorney Lewis Burdette Blanche has been reinstated to practice following a Feb. 9 Louisiana Supreme Court opinion after his 2010 suspension over felony drug and DWI convictions, neglecting a legal matter and failing to communicate with a client.
Blanche's petition for reinstatement indicated he was in compliance with established reinstatement criteria, according to the high court's two-page opinion. "After considering the record in its entirety, we will adopt the adjudicative committee chair's recommendation and reinstate petitioner to the practice of law, subject to a two-year period of supervised probation during which petitioner will only practice under the supervision of another lawyer," the opinion said.
The decree was effectively immediately, subject to the conditions listed in the opinion, and Blanche was ordered to pay all costs in the proceedings. Blanche was admitted to the Louisiana bar Oct. 5, 2001, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
Blanche pleaded guilty in 2010 to three felony drug offenses and was also convicted of a first offense DWI, in addition to neglecting and not communication with a client. "This misconduct was directly related to the opiate dependence and cocaine abuse from which petitioner suffered," the court's opinion said.
"He successfully completed a 28-day inpatient program and a halfway house program at a treatment facility in Maryland, where he was then living."
In June 2012, the high court handed down a three-year suspension against Blanche, retroactive to the date of his November 2010 interim suspension.
In February 2013, after he returned to Louisiana from Maryland, Blanche executed a five-year recovery agreement with the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, according to the opinion. This past September, he voluntarily extended his JLAP agreement to February 2022 and petitioned for reinstatement, according to the opinion.
The office of disciplinary counsel filed a concurrence Nov. 30, 2017, before the matter was assigned to the chair of the adjudicative committee for review. About a week before Christmas, the Louisiana attorney disciplinary board recommended Blanche's petition for reinstatement be granted.