On Thursday, January 4, 2024, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, First Judicial Department ordered the six-month suspension of attorney Matthew A. Melville following admissions of misconduct.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Matthew A. Melville,” with case no. 2022-05820.

The charges cited New York Rules of Professional Conduct 8.4(c) which states:

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

In December 2022, the Attorney Grievance Committee filed charges against Melville alleging professional misconduct arising from a side law practice he maintained in violation of his employment agreement and issues related to underreporting income to tax authorities. Melville joined a large multinational law firm in San Francisco as a partner in April 2020.

The charges stated that Melville’s partnership agreement at the firm specified that all attorney compensation received for professional activities was considered firm earnings. However, between April 2020 and October 2021, Melville billed certain clients outside of the firm’s standard billing system. He sent personal invoices to some law firm clients for work solely performed by him and also provided legal services to non-firm clients, directing payments from both to his personal bank account.

As a result of failing to properly record these transactions and issue appropriate tax forms, Melville admittedly underreported his income for tax years 2020 and 2021. The charges allege he earned approximately $361,467 from his undisclosed side practice during that time but only reported a portion to tax authorities. His misconduct was discovered by the law firm in November 2021 after a client received invoices from both Melville personally and the firm.

In consenting to discipline, Melville admitted to violating the Rules of Professional Conduct regarding dishonesty, fraud, and conduct reflecting poorly on their fitness as a lawyer. The Appellate Division’s order, dated January 4, 2024, suspends Melville for six months and requires two years of business and mental health monitoring with biannual reporting to the Attorney Grievance Committee, in line with precedent cases.

The Disposition states:

“Accordingly, the joint motion for discipline by consent should be granted pursuant to 22 NYCRR 1240.8(a)(5), and respondent suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months, and until further order of the Court, and he is directed to comply with the business and mental health monitoring and reporting conditions as set forth in the parties’ joint affirmation. The petition of charges should be denied as moot.”

According to avvo.com, Mr. Melville is a mergers and acquisitions attorney in San Francisco, California. He attended the New York University School of Law. He acquired his law license in New York in 2010.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.