NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Longtime voluntarily disbarred Metairie attorney Michael Stephen Sepcich could be reinstated following a recent recommendation by a Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee.
Sepcich's disbarment "is an example of both the best and worst experiences in our disciplinary and legal systems" said the 11-page recommendation issued by LADB Hearing Committee No. 9.
"But the story of failure and severe consequences, followed by remorse, rehabilitation and redemption is a great story," the recommendation said. "Mr. Sepcich has a great story to tell. His story is one that could be invaluable to current and future members of our Bar."
The hearing committee recommended Sepcich be readmitted conditional on his compliance with the judges and lawyers assistance program and payment of all costs and expenses in the matter.
The recommendation was signed Oct. 17 by committee chair Donald C. Massey and was issued the following day. Committee attorney member Dara L. Baird and public member Jennifer L. Steel-Bourgeois concurred in the recommendation.
Sepcich was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 18, 1997, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.
He was disbarred following a May 2015 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding, made retroactive to the July 2010 date of his interim suspension. His disbarment, after the office of disciplinary counsel began investigating allegations he submitted false billing for work he didn't perform, followed Sepchich's petition for consent discipline, submitting to disbarment.
Sepcich had been a managing partner in "one of Louisiana's preeminent law firms" and he received "the most severe of sanctions, from which a return to the practice of law is exceedingly difficult, and a feat accomplished by only a rare few," the recommendation said.
"The harsh but appropriate discipline imposed on Mr. Sepcich should serve to dispel any misconception that lawyers from 'large' or prominent law firms are somehow immune from discipline; that such persons are treated with undue and unequal favoritism, or that potential misconduct involving 'well-connected' lawyers is ignored or buried by their firms or the disciplinary system," the recommendation said.
Sepcich petitioned for readmission in March. Dane S. Ciolino, Louisiana legal ethics lawyer and professor at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, appeared on Sepcich's behalf during the hearing in August.