How to lose your law license
February 21, 2013 Leave a comment
People follow various paths to arrive at being lawyers. Some have parents that are/were lawyers and their path toward the practice was set in play years before they even finished junior high. Others go to college for one discipline and then decide to go to law school later in life. Regardless of how one arrives at law school, a heck of a lot of time and money goes into acquiring the degree and eventually passing the bar exam. So much so that the thought of doing anything to have that bar license taken away is shocking. Regardless, some lawyers engage in such behavior and unfortunately it isn’t rare.
For example, consider the allegations against Louis Guichet. According to Kingfish over at JJ and the Mississippi Lawyer, the Complaint Tribunal at the Mississippi Bar suspended Guichet for the following:
A Complaint Tribunal Suspended Mr. Guichet in Cause No. 2012-B-149 for
ninety (90) days for his violation of Rules 1.6 and 8.4(a) and (d), MRPC.
Mr. Guichet, represented his then wife, Amy Pietrowski Guichet, regarding an
appeal from the Chancery Court of Rankin County filed by Mrs. Guichet’s
first husband, Scott Pietrowski (“Mr. Pietrowski”). The appeal case involved a
final order of the Rankin County Chancery Court that granted sole custody
of Mr. Pietrowski’s children to Mrs. Guichet, denied Mr. Pietrowski any rights
to visitation, and found him to be in arrears for child support in an amount in
excess of $40,000.00. While the appeal was pending, Mr. and
Mrs. Guichet experienced marital difficulties.
Mr. Guichet then advised Mr. Pietrowski that he intended to withdraw
from Mrs. Guichet’s appeal case. Further, Mr. Guichet advised Mr. Pietrowski of
sensitive personal information that could impact a court’s decision regarding the
custody of Mrs. Guichet’s and Mr. Pietrowski’s children and that he would
continue to inform Mr. Pietrowski of any new information. In addition, Mr. Guichet
further threatened Mrs. Guichet with criminal prosecution in the event she did
not immediately consent to signing divorce pleadings. Moreover, he advised
Mrs. Guichet, that he would “do everything in my power to help [Mr. Pietrowski]
get [Mrs. Guichet’s] kids” if she refused to sign the divorce documents.
Rule 1.6, MRCP, prohibits a lawyer from revealing information relating to the
representation of a client without the client’s informed consent. The information Mr.
Guichet related to Mr. Pietrowski was confidential in nature and directly related
to the issues of the case. Mrs. Guichet did not authorize Mr. Guichet to convey that
confidential information. Rule 8.4(a) and (d), MRPC, provides that it is professional
misconduct for a lawyer to violate or attempt violate the rules of professional
conduct or engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.
Mr. Guichet’s threats to employ the criminal justice system to coerce Mrs. Guichet
to join a petition for divorce are contrary to the administration of justice.
In addition to this time out from the practice of law, Guichet has a civil lawsuit pending against him in the Southern District of Mississippi (cause no. 3:12cv733). In Davidson v. Guichet, et al it is alleged that Guichet engaged in a conspiracy which resulted in drugs being planted on Mr. Davidson and Mr. Davidson being arrested by the Madison County Sheriff’s Department. According to the docket sheet in that case, plaintiff served Guichet with the Complaint on November 14, 2012. However, an answer has not been filed. The Clerk of the Court entered a docket entry of default on February 4, 2013 and plaintiff filed a motion for default judgment on February 5, 2013. As soon as that motion is granted, the Court will likely schedule a hearing on damages.
So what are the chances of Mr. Davidson getting a penny out of Guichet? About zero. Guichet is fugitive on Rankin County District Attorney Michael Guest’s Top 12 most wanted list. Apparently Guichet didn’t show up for court related to his 2012 arrest for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.
Guichet’s career crashed and burned before it really got off the ground. One would expect the Mississippi Bar to permanently revoke his bar license in the near future.