NEW ORLEANS – Longtime Baton Rouge attorney Mark G. Simmons faces permanent disbarment following an April 16 Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) hearing committee recommendation after he allegedly practiced law while suspended.
Simmons also allegedly violated a professional conduct rule against engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, according to the eight-page recommendation issued by LADB hearing committee No. 27.
Simmons "represented himself as a licensed attorney, made appearances in court holding himself out as a practicing attorney, and filed pleadings while his license to practice law was suspended," the recommendation said.
The recommendation was signed April 2 by committee Chair Edythe L. Koonce, and was issued about two weeks later. Attorney member Manard M. Lagasse Jr. and public member Vallan B. Corbett concurred in the recommendation.
Simmons was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 27, 1990, according to his profile on the Louisiana State Bar's website.
Simmons was suspended between Oct. 31, 2017, and February 2018, following a Louisiana Supreme Court order, but still made court appearances on behalf of clients during that time, according to the hearing committee's recommendation. Those appearances included a qualified domestic relations order and domestic abuse battery, resisting an officer, simple robbery and negligent homicide cases before the 19th Judicial District Court.
In the qualified domestic relations order, Simmons allegedly communicated with the opposing party and a representative for his client's employer to resolve those issues.
The office of disciplinary counsel filed formal charges against Simmons in August, according to the hearing committee's recommendation. Simmons failed to answer to the charges, which were deemed admitted in October.
The following month Simmons filed a motion to recall the deemed admitted order and asked to be heard in mitigation. His request for recall "was denied for a failure to demonstrate good cause" but the hearing committee agreed to hear him in mitigation, the recommendation said.
Simmons did not appear for the hearing in March.
The committee found Simmons' "failure to participate in the proceedings and the evidence presented by the office of disciplinary counsel warrant a sanction of permanent disbarment," the recommendation said.