On Thursday, April 13, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reprimanded attorney Darryl George Smith for failing to comply with record-keeping requirements,

The case is entitled “In the matter of Darryl George Smith” with case no. 087415.

The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.15(d) and 8.1(b) which states:

Failure to comply with recordkeeping requirements.

Failure to cooperate with disciplinary authorities.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

In a corrected decision issued by the Supreme Court of New Jersey on August 9, 2022, it was stated that the respondent was censured on March 10, 2020, for failing to take any reasonable steps to ensure the expungement petition is completed in relation to his handling of a client seeking the expungement of the criminal record of the client’s son. Moreover, the respondent also failed to properly communicate with the client and continued to misrepresent to the client that the expungement order had been entered and that he would provide her with a copy.

The Corrected Decision states:

“Respondent, however, failed to rectify the dismissal of the case, failed to obtain an expungement order, and stopped communicating with his client. Respondent also misrepresented to the ethics investigator that he had, in fact, submitted a proposed order to the court, and then ceased cooperating with the underlying investigation. We determined to impose a censure, assigning, in aggravation, “significant weight to the wholly avoidable harm respondent caused to [his client’s son],” balanced against his lack of prior discipline in his twenty years at the bar.”

In the current complaint, the respondent committed misconduct through deficiencies in his record-keeping. Specifically, the respondent earned legal fees not deposited in AB, failed to maintain an ATA, failed to maintain an ABA, failed to maintain ABA receipts and disbursements journals, and failed to maintain ABA and ATA records for seven years.

According to the corrected decision, record-keeping irregularities ordinarily are met with an admonition. But on this matter, it has not directly caused a negligent misappropriation of client’s funds and the respondent cooperated with the investigation.

The Corrected Decision continues:

“Here, like the attorney in Tobin, respondent engaged in recordkeeping violations and allowed this matter to proceed as a default. Also like Tobin, respondent has a limited disciplinary history, albeit one unrelated to recordkeeping violations. Unlike Tobin, however, respondent fully cooperated with the underlying investigation and corrected his recordkeeping deficiencies prior to the OAE’s filing of the complaint. He was charged with only one instance of having violated RPC 8.1(b), after he failed to respond to the OAE’s letter notifying him of that the complaint would be deemed amended if he failed to file his answer within five days. In this respect, respondent’s misconduct is less serious than that of Tobin.”

In light of this matter, the court decided to just reprimand the respondent for his deficiencies in his record-keeping.

The Disposition states:

“It is ORDERED that Darryl George Smith is hereby reprimanded, and it is further ORDERED that the entire record of this matter be made a permanent part of respondent’s file as an attorney at law of this State; and it is further ORDERED that respondent reimburse the Disciplinary Oversight Committee for appropriate administrative costs and actual expenses incurred in the prosecution of this matter, as provided in Rule 1:20-17.”

Mr. Smith practices in Jersey City, New Jersey. He is licensed in New Jersey with license no. 021791996. His info can be found on lawyer.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.