On Friday, September 22, 2023, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge of the Supreme Court of Arizona ordered the suspension of attorney Michael S. Define for six months and one day due to a pattern of misconduct, including dishonesty and negligence in handling client matters.
The case is entitled “In the matter of Michael S. Define” with case no. PDJ-2023-9031.
The disciplinary actions stemmed from incidents involving his client, Ms. Rozenberg, and a probate case. The disciplinary proceedings revealed a series of false statements made by DeFine to Ms. Rozenberg regarding her case. Despite repeated assurances, he failed to file the necessary motions, leading to the dismissal of her case. He also misrepresented the status of the case, causing additional stress and financial harm to Ms. Rozenberg.
In a separate matter, Mr. DeFine was found to have used a representation agreement in a probate case that omitted required language, violating ethical rules. Additionally, he failed to provide timely accounting information to his client, further violating professional standards.
The hearing panel considered several aggravating factors, including Mr. DeFine’s prior disciplinary offenses, dishonest motives, a pattern of misconduct, multiple offenses, bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding, and refusal to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his conduct. The panel also noted his substantial experience in the practice of law.
While Mr. DeFine cited personal and emotional problems as a mitigating factor, the panel found that these issues did not excuse his dishonesty towards his client. Consequently, a long-term suspension was deemed appropriate, with terms of probation to be considered at the time of reinstatement.
After the hearing panel made its decision on August 25, 2023, the Presiding Judge issued an order suspending Michael S. Define from practicing law in Arizona for six months and one day. The suspension was effective as of September 25, 2023. In addition to the suspension, Define was required to comply with client notification requirements, file required affidavits, and pay $4,000 in costs and expenses to the State Bar of Arizona within 30 days.
According to Avvo, Mr. Define is a criminal defense attorney in Chandler, Arizona. He acquired his law license in Arizona in 2000.
A copy of the original filling can be found here.