Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Delaware Attorney Suspended From Practice

The law license of Delaware attorney Christopher James Burchinal has been suspended for two years, with the final 18 months of that term stayed on conditions, for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

In a 7-0 per curiam decision announced today, the court adopted findings by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline that on three separate occasions Burchinal diverted to his own use funds from insurance settlements that he was supposed to pay to his clients’ creditors.  The board also found that in another case, rather than admitting to a couple that he had missed the statutory deadline for filing a personal injury suit on their behalf, Burchinal deceived his clients for two years into believing that he was negotiating a settlement of their claims.

In setting the penalty for his misconduct, the court noted that Burchinal had self-reported his violations to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, repaid all of the funds he misappropriated, and entered into a settlement agreement with the clients whose suit he neglected to pay them the value of their claims.

As conditions for staying the final 18 months of his suspension, the court ordered that Burchinal must commit no further misconduct, serve 18 months of  monitored probation and cooperate with an attorney appointed to oversee his practice, and successfully complete a four-year contract he has entered into with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program to address mental health issues that contributed to his misconduct.

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2011-1426Disciplinary Counsel v. Burchinal, Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-3882.
On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, No. 11-020.  Christopher James Burchinal, Attorney Registration No. 0071503, is suspended from the practice of law for two years, with the final 18 months of the suspension stayed on conditions.
O’Connor, C.J., and Pfeifer, Lundberg Stratton, O’Donnell, Lanzinger, Cupp, and McGee Brown, JJ., concur.

Video clip View oral argument video of this case.

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