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Attorney Disciplined for Egregious Sham Billing: “Law Was Not His Passion”

A three-member panel of Pennsylvania’s Disciplinary Board found attorney Matthew Henry guilty of violating seven rules of Professional Conduct, as well as engaging in the practice of law without a license. The panel cited in detail five instances where Henry continued to bill clients for matters on which he was doing little to no work at all, reports the Am Law Daily. In addition, Henry neglected to renew his law license in 2009 and continued to practice law for his firm, Cozen O’Connor, nonetheless.

In one example, it was found that Henry continued to bill for work done in connection to a lawsuit against a former Cozen client a full year-and-a-half after the litigation ended, including 16.5 hours billed for travel to a non-existent hearing. Additionally, Henry submitted nearly $150,000 in fake bills to a client while failing to respond to amended complaints against them. In yet another instance, Henry billed 183 hours on a matter over the course of two years following Cozen’s actual withdrawal from the case.

The firm discovered the sham billing during an internal audit of Henry’s files, and has purportedly reimbursed all clients that were affected by his behavior. Henry eventually turned himself in to the disciplinary board and notified them of the false billing scheme. The penalty: a 30 month suspension applied retroactively to November of 2009. His suspension is now almost complete.

Reportedly, there was a letter from Henry’s psychiatrist that was included in the disciplinary order which cited years of alcohol and marijuana abuse. The letter also described Henry’s avoidance of going to work after being passed up as partner, and that “law was not his passion.” According to the doctor, Henry billed the hours to meet Cozen’s annual requirements, and seemed relieved when his misconduct finally came to light. It is yet unknown as to whether Henry will return to the practice of law once his suspension is complete.

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