NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana Supreme Court recently allowed a disbarred New Orleans-based attorney to be readmitted to the practice law after recovering from alcohol abuse and refraining from billing clients for unperformed work.
In a two-page ruling on Dec. 17, the high court allowed attorney Michael Sepcich to practice law again, with some conditions.
Sepcich had told the Office of Disciplinary Counsel that he submitted false billings for work that was not performed to clients.
As stated in the ruling, "He self-reported his misconduct to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) and sought help from the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP) to treat his alcohol abuse," joining the ODC "in submitting a petition for interim suspension, which we granted."
After considering the petition, the court disbarred Sepcich retroactive to Jul. 9, 2010, the date when he got his interim suspension.
Sepcich applied for readmission in March, stating the he was in compliance with the criteria stated by the Supreme Court Rule XIX § 24(E).
"The ODC took no position regarding the application for readmission," the ruling said. "Accordingly, the matter was referred for a formal hearing before a hearing committee. Following the hearing, the hearing committee recommended that petitioner be readmitted to the practice of law, subject to the condition that he comply with his JLAP recovery agreement and that JLAP provide periodic reports to the ODC. Neither petitioner nor the ODC objected to the hearing committee’s recommendation."
In the ruling, the justices stated that "petitioner has met his burden of proving that he is entitled to be readmitted to the practice of law on a conditional basis," ordering that Sepcich "be readmitted to the
practice of law, subject to the condition that he comply with his JLAP recovery agreement and that JLAP provide periodic reports to the ODC."
The same court document also stated that "should petitioner fail to comply with this condition of readmission, his conditional right to practice may be terminated immediately, or he may be subjected to other discipline pursuant to the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement, as appropriate."