On probation in tax case, former federal public defender joins Holland & Knight as a legal assistant

In 1 on January 23, 2009 at 11:52 pm

By: Mary Hladky Source:
Former Federal Public Defender James R. Gailey soon will be joining
the Miami office of Holland & Knight as a legal assistant.
Gailey, who resigned his post in 1994, pleaded guilty in August of
this year to filing a false income tax return and was sentenced to a
year of probation in early November. He was charged with accepting
$372,200 in case referral fees in 1992 and 1993, but not reporting the
revenue on tax returns.
The Florida Bar is about to ask the Florida Supreme Court to suspend
Gailey from the practice of law for three years, a standard action for
any lawyer convicted of a felony. The Bar will then initiate
disciplinary action. In cases involving a felony conviction, the Bar
typically seeks disbarment. However, Supreme Court rules governing
lawyers allow a suspended or disbarred lawyer to work in law firms in
a nonlawyer capacity.
Barbara Locke, executive partner of Holland & Knight’s Miami office,
said Gailey’s hiring was proposed by Daniel Pearson, a former 3rd
District Court of Appeal judge who chairs the litigation department.
It also was supported by firm patriarch and former American Bar
Association president Chesterfield Smith, and firmwide managing
partner Bill McBride.
“Our feeling was people deserve the opportunity to rehabilitate
themselves,” Locke said. “Somebody had to step up to the plate and
give this man a place to do so. ”
Pearson, who mentored Gailey during a career that included practicing
with two major law firms and with the U. S. attorney’s office, said
said the decision to help Gailey is appropriate. “It is the decent and
proper thing to do to help a human being who has come upon a
misfortune in his life. ”
The decision to bring Gailey on board was made with no guarantee that
he will be hired as a lawyer, if or when he can practice law again,
Locke said.
“The man made a mistake. He has accepted responsibility. He is
rehabilitating himself. It was the right thing to do,” Locke said of
the hiring decision.
Since leaving the Federal Public Defender’s Office, Gailey has had his
own law practice.

Posted via email from HKLaw Investigation


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