Two Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers Disbarred for Using Runners
The Georgia Supreme Court recently disbarred two Atlanta personal injury attorneys, Steve Freedman and Thomas Sinowski for using “runners” from April 1995 through April 1999.
The use of runners (a non-lawyer who is paid by a lawyer to recruit, recommend, or direct people to use the services of that lawyer) is strictly prohibited. Under O.C.G.A. 33/24/53(a), a lawyer shall not compensate a person or organization to recommend or secure his/her employment by a client.
According to the Supreme Court Order, the pair had kept a record of their illegal payments to runners in a “Runner Book.” Although they have admitted to paying 46 runners the total amount of $276,025.00, the pair appealed their punishment of three (3) years disbarment handed down by The Review Panel of the State Bar of Georgia citing it was too harsh and other lawyers in similar circumstances had been given mere reprimands. After extensive discovery and multiple hearing, the Georgia Supreme Court upheld The Review Panel’s findings with a 5-2 vote.
As a result of their disbarment, Thomas C. Sinowski and Steven F. Freedman are required to immediately cease any practice of law in Georgia and notify all clients within thirty days (30) of their inability to further represent them.
To view the oral arguments made on behalf of Steve Freedman and Thomas C. Sinowski, visit the Fulton Daily Report website.