On Tuesday, June 27, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey suspended attorney Stephen Paul Hildebrand for multiple instances of serious misconduct.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Stephen Paul Hildebrand,” with case no. 088162.
The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1(a), 1.2(a), 1.3, 1.4(b), 1.5(a)(b), 1.15(a)(b), 1.16(c)(d), 3.2, and 8.4(d).
In a decision dated May 1, 2023, it was stated that the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility recommended disbarment for attorney Robert P. Waldeck due to multiple instances of serious misconduct. This includes allegations of gross neglect, failure to communicate with clients, lack of diligence, charging unreasonable fees, and mishandling client funds, among other violations. Furthermore, Waldeck’s failure to cooperate with Pennsylvania disciplinary authorities led to his suspension from practicing law in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. On March 23, 2022, he was disbarred in Pennsylvania after submitting a verified statement of resignation concerning his misconduct. The DC Court of Appeals concluded that a six-month suspension is the appropriate disciplinary action for his wrongdoing.
The Decision states:
“In the Bailey matter, the respondent failed to file the BIA brief, resulting in the dismissal of the appeal seven months later. He also failed to reply to most of the client’s requests for information and did not provide the client file to Lambert or the client, despite the client’s repeated requests that he do so. In the Nathaniel matter, although the respondent represented the client adequately from August 2019 to June 2020, thereafter, he failed to appear for any court proceedings; to answer or return calls from chambers; and to maintain communication with the client. As a result, the client twice appeared pro se and eventually had to request that the court dismiss the respondent as his counsel.”
The Decision continues:
“In the Chinchilla-Roque and Bailey matters, the respondent violated RPC 1.5(b) by concededly failing to enter into a written fee agreement, despite having not previously represented either client. This violation cannot apply to the Nathaniel matter, because the petition does not address fees in that matter. In all three matters, the respondent also failed to cooperate with the Pennsylvania disciplinary authorities’ requests for statements of position, in violation of RPC 8.1(b). Further, in the Nathaniel matter, the respondent prejudiced the administration of justice, in violation of RPC 8.4(d), by repeatedly failing to appear and burdening the court with a show cause matter.”
The Decision further states:
“In sum, we grant the motion for reciprocal discipline and find that in the Chinchilla-Roque, Bailey, and Nathaniel matters, respondent violated RPC 1.1(a), RPC 1.3, RPC 1.4(b), RPC 1.16(d), RPC 3.2, and RPC 8.1(b); that in the Chinchilla-Roque and Bailey matters, respondent further violated RPC 1.5(b); and that, in addition, in the Nathaniel matter, respondent violated RPC 8.4(d). We dismiss the charges that respondent further violated RPC 1.2(a); RPC 1.5(a); RPC 1.15(a) and (b); and RPC 1.16(c).”
The Supreme Court of New Jersey agreed to suspend the respondent, following the recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board.
The Disposition states:
“It is ORDERED that Stephen Paul Hildebrand is suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months, and until further Order of the Court, effective July 27, 2023; and it is further ORDERED that respondent complies with Rule I:20-20 dealing with suspended attorneys.”
Mr. Hilderbrand is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with license no. 16802015.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.