On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, the New Jersey Supreme Court suspended Bruce K. Warren, Jr. from the practice of law for six months for violating multiple Rules of Professional Conduct in his representation of a client.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Bruce K. Warren, Jr., with case no. 088769.

The charges cited  New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 1.2(a), 1.4(b), 1.15(d), 8.1(a)(c) and 8.4(g), which states:

Failing to abide by a client’s decisions concerning the scope and objectives of representation.

Failing to communicate with a client.

Failing to comply with the recordkeeping requirements of Rule 1:21-6.

Making a false statement of material fact to disciplinary authorities.

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

Engaging, in a professional capacity, in conduct involving discrimination.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

According to the filing Warren was found by the Disciplinary Review Board to have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Specifically, the court found that Warren failed to abide by his client’s decisions about the scope and objectives of the representation, failed to communicate with his client, violated recordkeeping requirements, made false statements to disciplinary authorities, engaged in dishonest conduct, and engaged in sexual harassment in a professional capacity.

The underlying case stems from a grievance filed in 2016 by former client Edmonwonyi Agbonlahor regarding Warren’s representation of him in a lawsuit filed in 2013 against a debt collector and two credit reporting agencies. In its November 2023 Decision, the Disciplinary Review Board provided extensive details about Warren’s conduct in representing Agbonlahor.

According to the Decision, Warren filed suit on Agbonlahor’s behalf in August 2013 but failed to advise his client that he settled the claims against two of the defendants, Equifax and Trans Union, in late 2013. He deposited the settlement checks of $1,750 and $1,000, respectively, into his attorney business account and retained all the funds himself without informing Agbonlahor. Agbonlahor only discovered the Equifax settlement in 2014 when he received a tax form attributing the settlement as income to him.

When the claim against the remaining defendant was dismissed by the court in 2014 for failure to prosecute, Warren did not advise Agbonlahor of this adverse outcome. He also failed to maintain proper records of the settlements and funds received. During the investigation of the grievance, Warren made false statements, claiming Agbonlahor was not entitled to any settlement funds. He also could not provide documentation showing he properly advised Agbonlahor about the settlement agreements.

In addition, the Board’s Decision reveals that this was not the first time Warren had been disciplined. In 2013, he received a reprimand for engaging in a six-week sexual relationship with an appointed municipal court client during his representation, which was deemed a conflict of interest. In 2021, Warren received an admonition for practicing law while administratively ineligible on two dates in 2017, though unintentionally.

In reaching its recommendation of a six-month suspension, the Disciplinary Review Board took into account several aggravating factors, including Warren’s prior discipline and that the current misconduct involved multiple offenses. It determined Warren’s failure to properly communicate settlements to Agbonlahor, retain all funds without consent, and make false statements during the investigation constituted serious ethical violations requiring a significant sanction above just a reprimand.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Board’s recommendation and ordered that Warren be suspended from practicing law for six months, effective March 8, 2024. He will also have to comply with requirements for suspended attorneys and reimburse administrative costs.

According to avvo.com, Mr. Warren Jr. is a divorce & separation attorney in Westville, New Jersey. He attended the Widener University in Wilmington, graduating in 2002. He acquired his law license in New Jersey in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.