On Friday, October 6, 2023, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania denied a petition for reinstatement filed by attorney Neil E. Jokelson, a disbarred attorney. Jokelson had a history of disciplinary actions against him, including informal admonitions and private reprimands. On January 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania accepted Jokelson’s verified Statement of Resignation and disbarred him on consent.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Neil E. Jokelson,” with case no. 201 DB 2014.
Jokelson filed a petition for reinstatement on June 21, 2021, which was opposed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC). A reinstatement hearing was held on June 15, June 23, and August 18, 2022, during which Jokelson testified on his own behalf and presented ten character witnesses. The ODC cross-examined Jokelson and filed a post-hearing brief requesting that the Committee recommend denying Jokelson’s reinstatement.
The Committee concluded that Jokelson failed to meet his burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence that a sufficient period of time had passed since his misconduct during which he engaged in rehabilitation. The Committee further concluded that Jokelson did not meet his burden under Pa.R.D.E. 218(c)(3) that he was morally qualified, competent, and learned in the law, and that his resumption of the practice of law would not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the bar or the administration of justice nor subversive of the public interest.
On March 29, 2023, Jokelson filed exceptions to the Committee’s report and recommendation. The Board adjudicated this matter at its meeting on July 25, 2023, and denied Jokelson’s reinstatement. The Board made several findings, including that Jokelson had a history of disciplinary actions against him, that he had failed to provide a written fee agreement and had failed to return unearned portions of retainer fees to clients, and that he had neglected matters and failed to communicate with clients.
The filing states:
“On February 26, 2001, Petitioner received a public censure and three years of probation with a practice monitor for misconduct in two separate client matters where he neglected the matters, failed to communicate, and failed to respond to Court orders.”
The Board also found that Jokelson had converted settlement funds to his own use, which he had admitted to in his verified Statement of Resignation. Despite Jokelson’s repeated insistence that he did not convert funds, the Committee Chair overruled his objection and found that he had failed to meet his burden of proving that he was morally qualified and competent to practice law.
In its order, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania turned down Jokelson’s bid for reinstatement, following a thorough examination of the Committee’s report and recommendation.
The order states:
“AND NOW, this 6th day of October 2023, the petition for Reinstatement is denied. Petitioner is directed to pay the expenses incurred by the Board in the investigation and processing of the Petition for Reinstatement.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Jokelson is an attorney in Boca Raton, Florida. He acquired his law license in Pennsylvania in 1968.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.