Lawyer Suspended For Disregarding Ethics Authorities' Correspondence
The DRB sent a notice to Savage that he was scheduled for a "demand audit/interview," but he neither appeared nor gave notice he would not attend.
The DRB eventually found that the complaint relating to Furesz's claims did not allege sufficient facts to support a finding of gross neglect, so it upheld only the charge for failure to respond to the demand for information.
But it upheld the OAE's trust account charges, and Savage was placed on temporary suspension on April 16, 2013 for failure to cooperate.
The DRB said record-keeping irregularities, such as the unauthorized signatory, are normally met with admonition, as are instances of failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.
But Savage failed to cooperate with the District Ethics Committee as well as the OAE, engaged in a recordkeeping impropriety and twice defaulted on disciplinary proceedings, the DRB noted.
Such failure to cooperate is an aggravating factor, making censure the appropriate discipline, the DRB decided in a 6-2 vote.
The dissenters voted for a three-month suspension, which the Supreme Court chose to follow.
Savage says he ignored the disciplinary matters because he was trying to keep his practice afloat while dealing with a number of nonpaying clients.
"I can't explain why I didn't respond... I think I just went into a funk," he says, adding that no clients were harmed by his actions.
Savage, a Cornell University law graduate who also holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, was a corporate lawyer at Latham & Watkins in Newark from 2003 to 2006 and at Patton Boggs in Newark from 2006 to 2007.