The Supreme Court of Georgia has disbarred two personal injury lawyers who paid non-lawyers to refer clients to them.
In a 5-to-2 decision announced Wednesday, the court said that although law partners Steve Freedman and Thomas Sinowski had no prior disciplinary history, their misconduct involved more than 1,300 cases.
The Review Panel of the State Bar had recommended that the high court disbar Freedman and Sinowski for their use of runners to solicit personal-injury cases. The Official Code of Georgia prohibits attorneys from paying non-lawyers for referrals.
A special master in the case found that Freedman and Sinowski paid at least $276,025 to runners from 1996 to 1999.
The attorneys argued they were singled out for unparalleled punishment.
In his dissent, Justice Harold Melton said a three-year suspension was appropriate.
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