Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Alison J. Bane

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Docket No.: GCF-10-031

Issued by: Grievance Commission

Date: July 27, 2010

Respondent: Alison J. Bane

Bar Number: 006896

Order: Reprimand

Disposition/Conduct: Conduct Unworthy of an Attorney; Unauthorized Practice of Law; Other Misconduct; False Statement to a Judge; Candor Toward the Tribunal;


STIPULATED REPORT OF FINDINGS AND ORDER OF PANEL E OF THE GRIEVANCE COMMISSION M. Bar R. 7.1(e)(2)(4)


On July 27, 2010, with due notice, Panel E of the Grievance Commission conducted a public disciplinary hearing pursuant to Maine Bar Rule 7.1(e)(2)(E), concerning misconduct by the Respondent, Alison J. Bane. This disciplinary proceeding had been commenced by the filing of a stipulated Disciplinary Petition by the Board of Overseers of the Bar (the Board) on June 9, 2010.

At the hearing, Attorney Bane was pro se and the Board was represented by Assistant Bar Counsel Aria Eee. Prior to the disciplinary proceeding, the parties had submitted a stipulated, proposed sanction Report for the Grievance Commission Panel’s review and consideration.

Having reviewed the agreed, proposed findings as presented by counsel, the Panel makes the following disposition:

FINDINGS

Alison J. Bane (Bane) of Topsham, County of Sagadahoc, State of Maine, is currently registered as an inactive Maine attorney. She was admitted to the Maine Bar in September 1989 and she first registered as an inactive attorney in 1999. Under M. Bar R. 6(c) Ms. Bane was prohibited from practicing law in Maine but remained subject to regulation by the Board.

On January 25, 2010, Ms. Bane “self-reported” to Bar Counsel that she had violated various provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct. Specifically, Ms. Bane admitted to working both as a government lawyer and privately providing legal advice to several people despite her status as an inactive attorney. Ms. Bane further admitted to having misled a District Court judge about the status of a personal legal matter. Ms. Bane explained that she had been suffering from significant personal problems that had impacted her judgment, and her “self-report” was made as part of the effort to remedy those problems. Her actions constituted violations of M. Bar R. 3.1(a); 3.2(a)(1); 3.2(f)(1)(2)(3)(4); 6(c); and M. R. Prof. Conduct 3.3(a)(1); 5.5(a)(b); 8.4(a)(b)(c)(d).

CONCLUSION AND SANCTION

The Code of Professional Responsibility specifically requires attorneys to uphold their responsibilities to the public, clients and the courts. Due to Ms. Bane’s actions members of the public, colleagues and unsuspecting “clients” were misled into believing she was properly licensed to practice law. Moreover, due to her misrepresentation, a District Court judge accepted as truth information that she knew was inaccurate.

The Panel notes that Ms. Bane has taken responsibility for her deception. At the disciplinary hearing, Ms. Bane expressed her remorse for her serious violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct.

M. Bar. R. 2(a) provides that the purpose of bar disciplinary proceedings is not punishment, but rather the protection of the public from attorneys who, by their conduct, have demonstrated that they are unable to discharge properly their professional duties. Since the evidence supports a finding and Ms. Bane agrees that she did in fact violate the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Maine Rules of Professional Conduct, the Panel finds that a public reprimand serves those purposes.

Therefore, the Panel accepts the agreement of the parties, including Ms. Bane’s waiver of the right to file a Petition for Review, and concludes that the appropriate disposition of this case is a Public Reprimand to Alison J. Bane which is now hereby issued and imposed upon her pursuant to M. Bar R. 7.1(e)(3)(C)(4).


For the Parties

Aria Eee, Assistant Bar Counsel

Alison J. Bane


For the Grievance Commission

Victoria Powers, Esq., Panel Chair

John C. Hunt, Esq.

Joseph R. Reisert, Ph.D.