On Thursday, August 31, 2023, attorney Stephen Matthew Bander was disbarred by the State of Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The decision came as a consequence of Bander’s previous disciplinary actions, both within the State of Florida and with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Board of Immigration Appeals.
The case is entitled “Board of Overseers of the Bar v. Stephen Matthew Bander,” with case no. 23-16.
On May 11, 2023, the Supreme Court of Florida issued an order disbarring Bander from the practice of law in Florida, effective June 10, 2023. This action marked a crucial step in holding Bander accountable for his conduct within the legal profession. Following Bander’s disbarment in Florida, the Disciplinary Counsel for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Disciplinary Counsel for DHS jointly filed a notice of intent to discipline and a petition for immediate suspension. The Board had granted the Petition for Immediate Suspension on June 1, 2023, setting an effective date of June 10, 2023.
Despite being given the opportunity to respond to the allegations outlined in the notice of intent to discipline, Bander had failed to do so within the prescribed timeframe. This non-response had been considered an admission of the allegations, and Bander had been precluded from requesting a hearing on the matter.
Consequently, the Board adopted the proposed sanction detailed in the joint notice of intent to discipline. This meant Bander was disbarred from practicing before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Immigration Courts, and DHS, effective June 10, 2023. It had been incumbent upon Bander to comply with the directives outlined in the Board’s prior order, and he had been required to promptly inform the Board of any further disciplinary actions against him.
As a result of Bander’s previous disciplinary infractions, he has faced reciprocal disbarment in Maine due to violations of professional conduct rules concerning communication, conflicts of interest, and misconduct.
The Disposition states:
“Based upon the above, the Court finds that reciprocal discipline in Maine is wan-anted and Defendant does not contest reciprocal discipline. Accordingly, the Court ORDERS that Stephen Matthew Bander is now disbarred, and he may not return to practicing law in Maine until such time as any petition for Reinstatement he may file in Maine is granted, pursuant to M Bar R. 29.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Bander practiced as an immigration attorney in Miami, Florida prior to his disbarment. He attended the New York University School of Law, graduating in 1997. He acquired his law license in Maine in 2013.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.