Pennsylvania Record

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pa. Supreme Court lifts suspension of Phila. lawyer who misused client funds

By Jon Campisi | Feb 4, 2014

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court last month reinstated a Philadelphia lawyer who had been suspended for five years for misusing client funds.

In a per curiam order issued in mid-January, the justices reinstated Anthony L. Cianfrani to the practice of law.

Cianfrani, records show, had his law license suspended on March 26, 2008, due to his misusing client escrow funds on 11 separate occasions between 2004 and 2006.

He had admitted to his misdeeds.

While suspended, Cianfrani worked for a time as an unpaid paralegal at his wife’s firm, Cianfrani Law LLC.

When he returns from suspension, Cianfrani plans to practice law alongside his wife, concentrating on civil litigation, records show.

In a report to the Supreme Court, the Disciplinary Board wrote that it supports the suspension being lifted because Cianfrani “has demonstrated that his resumption of the practice of law within this Commonwealth will neither be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice nor subversive of the public interest.”

The board noted that Cianfrani accepted full responsibility for his conduct and that he cooperated with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in its investigation.

Cianfrani also “expressed contrition and remorse for his misconduct,” and his character witnesses were credible as to his “good reputation in the community for honesty and truthfulness.”

The three-member Disciplinary Board panel had earlier recommended the suspension because Cianfrani knowingly and intentionally commingled and converted client and third-party funds totaling at least $116,000 and involving at least 10 clients, according to a 2008 public discipline report put out by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Disciplinary Board reports show that Cianfrani converted fiduciary funds deposited into his Interest On Lawyers Trust Accounts account for his own use.

The conduct reportedly took place from April 30, 2005 through July 13, 2006.

Cianfrani also reportedly commingled his funds with fiduciary funds and failed to maintain the financial records for the IOLTA account.

The attorney was said to have had relational difficulties and increased family obligations that reduced his ability to attend to his law practice at the time of his misconduct, according to the Disciplinary Board.

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