Florida Record

Friday, November 22, 2019

Coral Gables attorney disbarred after allegedly abandoning client's family court matter


By Karen Kidd | Oct 1, 2019

Hammer gavel

TALLAHASSEE (Florida Record) — Suspended Coral Gables attorney and former assistant state attorney Madeline Palenzuela has been disbarred following an Sept. 5 Florida Supreme Court order over her apparent abandonment of a client's case, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"A client retained Palenzuela to handle a family court matter," the state bar said in its Sept. 26 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "After both the client and opposing counsel informed the court that they were unable to contact her and she failed to appear in court, the judge contacted The Florida Bar."

Palenzuela also failed to respond to inquiries or participate in the discipline proceedings against her, according to the announcement.

Palenzuela's suspension meant that her disbarment was effective immediately, according to the announcement. 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 Palenzuela'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.

Palenzuela was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 18, 2003, according to her profile at the state bar website.

Palenzuela was an assistant state attorney in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office from 2005 to 2011, according to information on her LinkedIn page. She also spent three years as an attorney adviser in the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals before opening her "remarkable boutique criminal and family law practice," according to her Palenzuela Legal LLC LinkedIn page.

Palenzuela was suspended following a state Supreme Court order this past May after being found in contempt for allegedly failing to comply with requirements to notify clients about a previous suspension handed down in August 2018. In those earlier proceedings, Palenzuela had been indefinitely suspended unless and until she fully responded in writing to an official state bar inquiry.

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