Silva now a Holland & Knight Contract Attorney

In 1 on January 2, 2009 at 8:57 pm
Author: scorpios
Subject: yeah, big law partner
Time: February 9, 2008 – 11:59 am

Cocaine addiction, forgery, false notarizations, and lying to a client and a fellow partner. The alleged ethical violations by former Holland & Knight partner Theodore Silva Jr. are piling up.

Silva already is suspended from practicing law in Virginia for failing to pay dues and complete continuing education requirements. On Jan. 31, the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board added a public reprimand with conditions after he failed to report his guilty plea to a felony cocaine possession charge in 2002.

The D.C. Bar Counsel is now seeking Silva’s disbarment in the District over his admitted misconduct while representing a client at Holland & Knight in a complex real-estate deal, which led to his firing in 2006 after 12 years with the firm.

In 2005, Silva failed to complete an easement relocation agreement for a commercial real-estate deal at 15th and L Streets in Northwest Washington and then lied to the client and another partner about the status of the agreement, according to a D.C. Bar Counsel report last month. Silva “then forged the signatures of the other parties to the agreement, which he also falsely notarized, and presented the agreement with the forged signatures and notarizations to his client and the client’s trustee for their signatures,” the report stated.

Silva's misconduct was revealed four months later when an attorney for an adjoining-property owner told Silva’s client and the other parties that the easement agreement had never been finalized. Holland & Knight then fired Silva and reported his actions to the D.C. Bar Counsel.

Silva has admitted that he violated four D.C. Bar rules but is challenging four other alleged violations. Timothy Battle, a solo practitioner in Alexandria, Va., who is representing Silva, has argued for a suspension of six months or less for “this single example of stupid conduct in an otherwise impressive and productive 18-year career,” according to his response brief.

Silva may have sunk the ship with his own testimony before a hearing committee last December where he said he didn’t consider himself to be honest and trustworthy. “I think that I can get over on everybody and that I can manipulate people, and that is what led me to this, is that I can pull this out of the hat and I did it a thousand times,” he testified.

The Bar Counsel is awaiting the hearing committee's recommendations on discipline before proceeding to the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility. Silva has argued for lighter discipline because his misconduct was caused by alcohol and cocaine addictions, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Bar Counsel rejected those arguments, stating that Silva didn't provide sufficient proof that he suffered from depression or ADHD. The Bar Counsel also found cocaine addiction isn’t a valid defense because it is an illegal drug, and Silva's alcohol addiction didn’t cause him to engage in the misconduct.

Holland & Knight lost a big chunk of change because of Silva, according to the Bar Counsel report. Another partner had to complete the easement agreement for free, which required 50 hours of work at $400 per hour. The firm also paid about $10,000 to the client for construction delays and $105,000 to reimburse the other parties for their attorney fees. Holland & Knight partner Stephen Bogorad declined to comment yesterday on Silva's disciplinary case.

Silva, who has no prior record of discipline since joining the D.C. Bar in 1988, has been working as a contract attorney and is not representing clients. As part of his disciplinary proceedings, he is prohibited from using any recreational drugs and must file random drug test results every quarter. His guilty plea for cocaine possession was vacated in 2005, and the felony charge was dismissed after he completed probation.

Silva entered an in-patient drug treatment program last December and may stay for up to six months, Battle says. “I hope he does well," says Battle. "This is a step up and hopefully a step toward a major and permanent improvement."

Author: scorpios
Subject: K atty
Time: February 9, 2008 – 12:04 pm

Silva, who has no prior record of discipline since joining the D.C. Bar in 1988, has been working as a contract attorney and is not representing clients.

One word…..DAMN…….

Posted via email from HKLaw Investigation


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