Florida Record

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Coral Gables attorney voluntarily disbarred after state bar begins investigation into trust account


By Karen Kidd | Sep 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Coral Gables attorney Joseph I. Harrison has been voluntary disbarred following an Aug. 8 Florida Supreme Court order and commencement of a state bar investigation into his client trust account, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"The bar received an insufficient funds notice regarding two checks issued from Harrison's trust account," the state bar said in its Aug. 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "Harrison said the checks had been paid and no clients harmed. After the bar issued subpoenas to audit his trust account, Harrison submitted a petition for disciplinary revocation."

In its two-page order, court approved Harrison's uncontested petition for disciplinary revocation, tantamount to disbarment, with leave to seek readmission after five years. The state high court gave Harrison 60 days from the date of his July 1 petition before his disbarment became effective to allow him time to close his practice and protect his existing clients' interests, according to the high court's order. The court also ordered Harrison to pay $1,250 in costs.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Harrison's suspension. Attorneys disbarred in Florida generally cannot reapply for admission for five years and must pass an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam.

Harrison was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 17, 2006, according to his profile at the state bar website. Harrison had no prior history of discipline, according to his petition.

Allegations against Harrison stem from an insufficient funds notice issued on his trust account in November 2018, which Harrison said "was the result of a timing issue regarding clearing of fund," his petition said. Harrison maintained that no client suffered financial loss as the result of his conduct, according to his petition.

"The Florida Bar acknowledges, as of the filing of this petition, no clients have filed any grievances alleging financial loss as a result of [Harrison]'s conduct," the petition said.

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