On Friday, June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reprimanded attorney I.M. Heine for violating ethics rules in obtaining a personal loan from a client without proper safeguards.

The case is entitled “In the matter of I.M. Heine”, and was bought by the District IV Ethics Committee with case no. 088024.

The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3, 1.8(a), and 1.15(b) which state:

Exhibiting a lack of diligence.

Entering an improper business transaction with a client.

Failing to promptly deliver funds to clients.

The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

The Disciplinary Review Board’s March 22, 2023 decision stated that Heine borrowed $4,500 from longtime client and friend Linda Spiegleman in June 2017 while still representing her in litigation against a contractor. Heine did not advise Spiegleman to consult independent counsel or obtain her written consent to the loan, violating RPC 1.8(a).

The Board found:

“There is no question respondent represented Spiegleman in her litigation against TBS, which, by the terms of the retainer letter respondent prepared, included collection of the judgment obtained in the litigation. Yet, due to his lack of diligence in the representation, for nearly one year, respondent failed to assist Spiegleman with the collection of the judgment against TBS and Weiner, a violation of RPC 1.3.”

Heine also failed to promptly deliver $300 in settlement funds to Spiegleman, violating RPC 1.15(b).

In mitigation, Heine had over 50 years of discipline-free practice. But the Board found his “utter lack of remorse” and other aggravating factors warranted a reprimand.

The Board wrote:

“Respondent has displayed absolutely no remorse whatsoever. Worse, he attempted to obfuscate his obvious guilt by making false statements.”

Heine must also reimburse administrative costs. The reprimand takes effect upon the Court’s Order.

Based on the Disciplinary Review Board’s decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided to reprimand Heine.

The order states:

“It is ORDERED that I. M. Heine 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. Heine practices in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is licensed in New Jersey. His info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.