On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, a three-member hearing panel rejected the reinstatement application of previously suspended Arizona attorney, Michael A. Urbano.
The case is titled ‘In the matter of a suspended member of the State Bar of Arizona, Michael A. Urbano’ with case number PDJ-2023-9005-R.
Attorney Urbano sought reinstatement following a suspension during which he was found to have violated several Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct. These rule violations included ER 1.1 (competence), ER 1.7(a)(2) (conflict of interest), ER3.3(a)(1) (knowingly making false statements of fact or law to a tribunal), ER8.4(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), and ER8.4(d) (conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice).
The Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
Mr. Urbano was suspended for 60 days in 2008 and six months in 2011 for violations including lack of competence, diligence, communication, conflicts of interest, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. In 2020, he was suspended for 3 years for additional violations including false statements to a tribunal, dishonesty, and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The 2020 suspension resulted from Mr. Urbano advising a criminal defendant client to violate a court-ordered curfew so that Mr. Urbano could request an expedited hearing. Mr. Urbano then made false statements about his motivations to the court. The hearing panel found this conduct was motivated by Mr. Urbano’s personal interests rather than the client’s interests.
On January 25, 2023, Mr. Urbano filed an application for reinstatement. Mr. Urbano indicated in his reinstatement application that he suffers from PTSD related to his military service. At the hearing, two witnesses testified Mr. Urbano was calmer than before his suspension. However, the chart notes of Patrick Clark, a licensed clinical social worker who has been working with Mr. Urbano since January 6, 2022, indicated some continuing delusional thinking and paranoia. The hearing panel had concerns about Mr. Urbano’s ability to practice law independently.
The panel found Mr. Urbano failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that he has been rehabilitated. He provided short, conclusory answers at the hearing rather than an in-depth understanding of his prior misconduct. The panel also found he failed to fully comply with post-suspension rules.
The panel concluded Mr. Urbano applied for reinstatement prematurely and needs more time for his mental health treatment. They recommended denial, finding he failed to meet his burden to show rehabilitation and compliance with discipline orders and rules.
The recommendation reads:
“For the reasons stated, the hearing panel unanimously recommends that Mr.Urbano’s reinstatement application be denied.”
Attorney Michael A. Urbano obtained his law degree from the University of Nevada’s Boyd School of Law, having graduated in 2003. More info on Mr. Urbano’s bio can be viewed here.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.