City Loses 800 Lawyers; Sky Brightens and Birds Sing

20061013gavel.jpg

Photo: iStockphoto.com

Ready your rim shots. Today’s Post reports that more than 800 lawyers were suspended yesterday for failure to pay their $350 biennial registration fees. A state appellate court ruled that the delinquent legal eagles had been offered plenty of opportunities to pay up, considering notices were sent to their homes and offices and posted on an official court Website; unless restitution is made, the suspensions will take effect in 30 days. Among the unlicensed litigators are corporate lawyers from such white-shoe firms as Skadden and Davis Polk; in-house counsels from Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, MasterCard, Chase Manhattan, and AT&T; and attorneys for the Justice Department, the state Attorney General’s Office, the SEC, and the city Law Department. And it gets worse: The notices only went to attorneys whose last names begin with A through D. Extrapolating, that means some 5,000 lawyers — nearly a quarter of the New York City Bar Association’s 22,000 members — will be discredited by alphabet’s end. And what do you call that? As the old joke goes, a start.

Melena Ryzik

Cheap Legal Eagles [NYP]