Sarasota attorney William Robert Cohen, who passed away last month, was disbarred following an Aug. 24 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations of trust account shortages.
The state supreme court issued its two-page order of disciplinary revocation, tantamount to disbarment, with leave to seek readmission after five years. The Florida State Bar announced the discipline and the Supreme Court's order on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
The high court's order also required Cohen pay $7,989.94 in costs.
Cohen was admitted to the bar in Florida on Oct. 27, 1997, according to his profile at the state bar website. He died in September, according to a brief online obituary, and his state bar profile lists him as "deceased".
In April, Cohen, then 46, filed a petition for disciplinary revocation, effectively agreeing to his own disbarment, over allegations of trust account shortages, misappropriation of trust account funds and commingling violations. Cohen allegedly owed $95,000 to two clients in separate matters.
In his petition, Cohen said that during the period of the alleged misconduct, he "was partially incapacitated due to health and personal issues." Cohen also acknowledged civil liability to the clients in the two matters and agreed to make restitution.
His disbarment was not the first discipline for Cohen before the state bar. In July 2016, the state Supreme Court issued a contempt and show cause order that resulted in a suspension order over mishandling client funds allegations. The show cause order was issued after a state bar grievance committee reported he had not responded to an official state bar investigation. The state high court also ordered Cohen to pay $1,250 in costs in that suspension.
Cohen also was admonished for minor misconduct in October 2010. In that disciplined, Cohen told the court in his admission to the minor misconduct that he "was experiencing significant personal and medical issues" during 2004 and 2005 when he was twice disciplined before the state bar Michigan, where he also had been licensed to practice law.