Winters and Yonker—the “aggressive attorneys”—will be downright passive the next few months. On September 6, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court suspended William Winters and Marc Yonker from the practice of law due to “professional misconduct”.
“It ‘s unfortunate when the profession is damaged by unethical attorneys. Such behavior casts a bad light on all attorneys, most of whom zealously represent their clients without resorting to unethical or illegal practices to do so,” commented by Managing Partner of the Becker Law Office.
The suspensions stem from a 2010 charge by the Florida Bar, which accused Winters and Yonker of deceiving clients and stealing files from their former employer, Richard Mulholland, in 2001 when they were forming their own firm. The Florida Bar Association contended someone on Winters’ and Yonker’s behalf hacked into Mulholland’s computer and altered client information, that Yonker took and copied client files from Mulholland’s office, and that they both falsely informed potential clients a third lawyer was joining their firm.
On Thursday, the Florida Supreme Court agreed with the Florida Bar that Winters’ and Yonker’s “personal use of the Mulholland firm’s client files constituted acts of criminal theft.” As a result, the Court suspended Winters and Yonker from the practice of law for 90 days and 60 days, respectively. During their suspension, they cannot conduct any legal business nor accept any new clients.
This disciplinary suspension follows a $2 million verdict won by Mulholland against Winters and Yonker in a 2008 civil claim stemming from the same incident.
Although Winters and Yonker are not licensed to practice law in Kentucky, nor do they reside in our Commonwealth, the sanctions imposed by the Florida Supreme Court should be recognized by the Kentucky Bar Association.
Winters and Yonker may bill themselves as the “aggressive attorneys” but for most attorneys, “aggressive” is not synonymous with “unethical” or “illegal”.
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