On Thursday, July 13, 2023, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division Third Judicial Department entered an order denying the motion for reinstatement filed by attorney Willem Lodewikus Pretorius, who had been previously suspended for failing to comply with his attorney registration obligations.
The case is entitled “Attorney Grievance Committee for the Third Judicial Department v. Willem Lodewikus Pretorius,’” with case no. PM-145-23.
Pretorius, who was admitted to practice in New York in 2002, had been suspended in May 2019 for conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice due to his failure to comply with attorney registration obligations beginning in 2013. He cured his registration delinquency in December 2019 and has since remained in compliance.
In April 2023, Pretorius applied for reinstatement. The Attorney Grievance Committee (AGC), however, opposed reinstatement. According to the AGC, Pretorius’ submissions lack proof that he has completed the required Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits within two years before filing his reinstatement application. Pretorius argued that the CLE requirement does not apply to him since he does not practice law in this state and is, therefore, not obligated to complete New York CLE credits, citing the Rules of the Appellate Division.
The Court disagreed with Pretorius, noting that an attorney seeking reinstatement following a registration-related suspension must meet certain procedural requirements and submit documentation to support the application. While proof of passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam is no longer required, attorneys suspended for more than two years must now complete the required continuing legal education credits.
The filing states:
“Pretorius is mistaken. In promulgating this Court’s CLE requirement, it was our intention to ensure that attorneys removed from the practice of law in this state for two years or more could demonstrate some familiarity with changes and updates in the law in New York prior to being reinstated. While Pretorius submitted proof of his successful passage of the MPRE within one year following his application for reinstatement, we do not find, under the facts presented, that this submission substantially complies with the court’s rules.”
Accordingly, since Pretorius did not submit the required documentation as a threshold matter, the Court denied his application for reinstatement.
Mr. Pretorius was licensed in New York with license no. 4076105.
A copy of the original filing can be found here