Louisiana Record

Friday, February 21, 2020

LADB splits over recommendation to deny disbarred Alexandria attorney's petition for readmission


By Karen Kidd | Aug 29, 2019

NEW ORLEANS (Louisiana Record) — Voluntarily disbarred Alexandria attorney William Francis Henderson may not be readmitted following a split Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) recommendation to the state Supreme Court for allegedly failing to end his association with a law firm.

Henderson allegedly technically remains a partner with his ex-wife in a small, seldom active law firm, Coleman and Henderson LLC, in Alexandria, a violating a professional conduct rule that requires disbarred attorneys to end such associations, the LADB said in its 15-page majority recommendation. Henderson also allegedly violated a professional conduct rule by inducing fellow attorney and ex-wife to work with him during his disbarment, according to the recommendation.

"Given the above, Mr. Henderson has failed to establish that he has met the criterion of Second 24(E)(5) or that there is good and sufficient reason why he should nevertheless be readmitted," the recommendation said.

The LADB also recommended Henderson be ordered to pay all costs and expenses in the matter.

Henderson was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on April 10, 1992, according to his profile at the Louisiana State Bar Association's website.

The LADB's recommendation follows a hearing committee's legal conclusions and its own recommendation filed in May, which included the opinion that Henderson had "not intentionally or maliciously violated" the rule over continuing his association in the law firm.  

"This negligence is, however, in the opinion of the committee fatal to his request for readmission," the hearing committee said in its own recommendation.

In her dissent from the LADB's majority opinion, adjudicative committee member Carrie L. Jones took issue with the majority's finding about Henderson breaking professional conduct rules. Jones said that, contrary to the full board's findings, there was no evidence that Henderson's association in the firm had been related to the other attorney's limited law practice.

"Further, the money placed in the operating account was connected to rental payments, which had nothing to do with the practice of law," Jones continued in her dissent. "The overboard interpretation of the rule is too far fetching and for that reason I dissent."

The board's eight other members concurred with the majority recommendation, which was signed on their behalf by member Dominick Scandurro Jr.

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Louisiana State Bar AssociationLouisiana Attorney Disciplinary BoardLouisiana Supreme Court

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