Bankruptcy lawyer disbarred after sanctions in 30 cases – Reuters


(Reuters) – A bankruptcy lawyer who had been sanctioned in courts at least 30 times has agreed to disbarment in Washington, D.C., following a related penalty in Florida last month.
Sam Babbs III consented to disbarment in Washington over misconduct allegations that included misusing advance funds from clients and practicing law in states where he was not licensed. The District of Columbia Board on Professional Responsibility this week recommended that the city's highest court, which oversees attorney misconduct, impose the sanction.
His disbarment would be effective on April 11, giving him a window, bar regulators said, to wind down his practice. He has been a member of the D.C. bar since 2009.
In a separate action, the Florida Supreme Court last month revoked his license to practice for at least five years. The D.C. bar's disciplinary office said some of the matters it was investigating were the same as complaints lodged against him in Florida.
Babbs, whose work focused on bankruptcy matters involving individuals and families, told Reuters on Wednesday that he has no interest in practicing bankruptcy law again and decided not to fight the claims.
"You have to know when to hold them and when to fold them," he said.
He said he will have the ability in both jurisdictions to reapply to the bar. Babbs said his business model, where he tried to build and maintain a national practice relying on local counsel, came about from "bad advice."
The D.C. bar's disciplinary office was investigating a referral from the U.S. Trustee Program, the U.S. Justice Department's bankruptcy watchdog.
"In at least 30 cases, the bankruptcy courts have sanctioned me for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, charging unreasonable fees and violating the Bankruptcy Rules including for not making required disclosures," Babbs told the D.C. bar's discipline team.
Bankruptcy courts in some instances blocked Babbs from making further appearances and also ordered him to disgorge the fees he had received from clients.
The D.C. bar's disciplinary office on Wednesday declined to comment.
The case is In the Matter of Sam Babbs III, D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility, Disciplinary Docket 2021-D142, et al.
For the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel: Julia Porter
For Sam Babbs: Pro se
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