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EX-Judge Disbared for Binding Arbitration Clause
Friday, 07 October 2005
Hawai'i Supreme Court disbars former judge
The high court decision said Lee included in the agreement with clients a requirement that the clients submit any dispute over legal fees to binding arbitration. But if the Office of Disciplinary Counsel becomes involved prior to the settlement by arbitration, the clients agree to pay Lee's law firm $2,000. Hawai'i Supreme Court disbars former judge 
Advertiser Staff
 The Hawai'i Supreme Court has disbarred a Honolulu lawyer for violating rules of professional conduct in connection with a provision in his agreements with clients.

Richard Y.S. Lee, 58, a Family Court district judge from 1979 to 1986, is disbarred effective Oct. 31, according to the court ruling.

The high court decision said Lee included in the agreement with clients a requirement that the clients submit any dispute over legal fees to binding arbitration. But if the Office of Disciplinary Counsel becomes involved prior to the settlement by arbitration, the clients agree to pay Lee's law firm $2,000.

The high court said the provision violates rules of professional conduct that include a requirement that legal fees be reasonable and a prohibition against a lawyer trying to limit a person from filing a disciplinary complaint against any lawyer or to limit a person cooperating with disciplinary proceedings.

The court said other factors aggravated Lee's "misconduct." Among them are discipline in eight prior cases since 1996, "a dishonest and selfish motive" and "a pattern of deliberate misconduct," the court said.

The court's decision was by Chief Justice Ronald Moon and associate justices Steven Levinson and James Duffy. Associate Justices Paula Nakayama and Simeon Acoba disagreed with the disbarment, saying they'd impose a five-year suspension from the practice of law.

 
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