On Friday, February 2, 2024, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York, Fourth Judicial Department suspended Attorney Julie Ann Lang from practicing law for two years.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Julie Ann Lang.”

The charges cited New York Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3(a), 1.3(b), 1.5(d)(5)(ii), 1.5(e), 1.15(a), 1.15(c)(1), 1.15(c)(3), 1.15(e), 1.16(e), 8.4(b), 8.4(c), 8.4(d), and 8.4(h) which states:

Failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

Failing to act with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.

Neglecting a legal matter entrusted.

Entering into an arrangement for, charging, or collecting a fee in a domestic relations matter without a written retainer agreement.

Failing to provide a prospective client in a domestic relations matter with a statement of the client’s rights and responsibilities.

Misappropriating funds belonging to another person and commingling personal funds with such funds.

Failing to provide prompt notice of receipt of funds belonging to a client or third party.

Failing to maintain complete records of a client or third-party funds.

Making withdrawals from her attorney trust account in a manner other than by check payable to a named payee.

Failing to refund promptly any unearned fees.

Engaging in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on her fitness as a lawyer.

Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

Engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

Engaging in conduct that adversely reflects on her fitness as a lawyer.

Failing to provide proper billing statements, client rights statements, and written retainer agreements in domestic relations matters.

In 2021, the court had already suspended Lang temporarily while a grievance investigation was pending into allegations of professional misconduct. These allegations included misappropriating client funds and fabricating documents to cover up the misappropriation.

After further investigation, the Grievance Committee filed a petition against Lang containing seven charges of misconduct involving multiple clients between 2015 and 2020. Lang conditionally admitted to the charges in lieu of filing a formal answer. These charges included failing to act with diligence, neglecting client matters, misappropriating funds that were intended for a client, failing to return unearned fees to clients, submitting fake documents to the Grievance Committee, and not following proper procedures for domestic relations cases regarding bills and retainer agreements.

Some specific instances included keeping over $3,000 meant for a client for child support and using it for her own fees without permission. For another client, she took $2,030 from a $15,000 settlement intended for the former spouse and kept it as her fee without consent. Multiple clients had to resort to fee arbitration or lawsuits to get unearned portions of their retainers returned.

The parties agreed on a joint motion requesting a two-year suspension. Considering the acknowledged wrongdoing and taking into account Lang’s efforts to address mental health concerns, the Appellate Court approved the suspension, which will be in effect starting from the original interim suspension date of June 22, 2021. Lang will also need to show ongoing treatment and a monitoring agreement before being reinstated.

The Disposition states:

“Accordingly, after consideration of all of the factors relevant to this matter, we conclude that the respondent should be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years, effective June 22, 2021, and until further order of the Court.”

According to martindale.com, Ms. Lang acquired her law license in New York in 2004.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.