The Florida Bar filed a petition for contempt against Jacksonville attorney Matt Shirk with the Supreme Court of Florida on October 18, 2023. In the petition, the Bar alleges Shirk engaged in the unauthorized practice of law while suspended after the high court ordered his suspension on August 25, 2022.

The case is entitled “The Florida Bar v. Matt Shirk,” with case number 2024-00,078 (10A)(OSC).

In the case, the Bar is requesting the Supreme Court issue an order directing Shirk to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of the court’s prior suspension order. That order suspended Shirk from practicing law for one year, effective September 27, 2022, with proof of rehabilitation required before reinstatement.

As part of his suspension, Shirk was required to notify all clients, courts, and opposing counsel that he could no longer practice law. He filed an affidavit asserting he provided this notice. However, the Bar claims Shirk continued representing immigration clients in violation of his suspended status.

Specifically, the petition states that on October 4 and 5, 2022, Shirk filed notices of appearance on behalf of four immigration clients with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service while suspended. The Bar also alleges Shirk filed motions to continue hearings for three additional immigration clients between August 21 and 22, 2023 in immigration court.

In the petition, the Bar asserts that practicing immigration law constitutes practicing law under the Supreme Court’s definition. It notes that Shirk remained suspended not just in Florida but before the immigration authorities as well, having been suspended by the Board of Immigration Appeals on October 5 and November 29, 2022.

If held in contempt, the Bar seeks Shirk’s immediate disbarment. It notes disbarment is typically the proper sanction for practicing while suspended. The petition also requests the Supreme Court assess $1,250 in costs against Shirk for the bar to pay for this contempt proceeding.

A hearing date on the order to show cause has not yet been set. Shirk will have an opportunity to respond to the contempt allegations. However, if proven, the Bar is asking the Supreme Court to disbar Shirk for repeatedly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law while suspended per the court’s prior order. A ruling would reinforce that attorneys must strictly comply with orders suspending their license to practice law.

The petition states:

“The bar respectfully requests this Court enter an order directing Matt Shirk to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of this Court’s order and disbarred effective immediately due to his existing one-year suspension.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Shirk is an immigration attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. He attended the Florida Coastal School of Law, graduating in 1999. He acquired his law license in Florida in 2000.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.