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Ethic Questions Rise After Suspended Lawyer is Hired
There is currently some debate about the ethics surrounding a suspended lawyer that was hired for a city contract by Theo Gregory, the Wilmington City Council President in Pennsylvania. He recently gave a contract to a lawyer at $400 an hour, even though he was suspended due to practicing law in another state without an office. He was suspended because you must have a right to practice in any state you are living and working in, according to The News Journal.

The lawyer hired by Gregory was Calvin Harmon. He was hired by Gregory to help with a lawsuit against Mayor Dennis Williams who was providing council members with a slush fund, provided by $250,000 worth of grant money. In order to try to prevent a canceled budget meeting, Mayor Williams took Gregory to court, who then hired the suspended lawyer, Harmon.

Harmon lives in Wilmington, Delaware where he has a mail drop address for his registration as a lawyer to practice with the Delaware Supreme Court. With just a mail drop address and not a physical address where he practiced law in the state, he was suspended for going against Delaware’s policies. They require lawyers to have an office maintained in the state for practicing law, and specifically state it cannot be only a mail drop. Harmon’s defense is that he believes this rule only applies to lawyers that currently have pending cases with Delaware court.

When he was working as a lawyer for  Gregory, Harmon used Gregory’s address in that case and other cases, according to court records. During that year, he received $29,364 in city legal services. Harmon said his law office was in Pennsylvania, but the Disciplinary Board for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court say he was suspended from practicing in their state since Fall of 2010. This suspension was due to now paying his $200 annual attorney fee.

To this, Harmon attempted to defend himself by saying his office in Pennsylvania is actually an investment banking business, and not a law firm, and that most of his working hours are dedicated to the investment business. He mentioned Gregory was a friend, and that is why he was in court in Pennsylvania, helping him with this legal case.

The complaint that has risen from this case is that Harmon was working for Gregory’s law firm when he was presenting him, which would be against the city’s code of conduct. Harmon is trying to prove that he was only using his address, and not actually an employee of the law firm. They both deny being law partners and that Harmon representing Gregory against the Mayor is not against the code of conduct.

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