Writer says disciplinary review needed
in sexual harassment/assault case reported by Harrison employee

After reviewing the articles on Mr. Harrison,  it seems that the scope of the "attorney's misconduct" is flagrant and serious on a variety of camps, and should be the subject of extensive disciplinary review by the Virginia Bar Association.   

If the article is accurately portrayed, it appears that the victim's attorney violated her allegiance to upholding her professional and fiduciary oath, both to her client and the public on a number of ethical counts.  

The victim's attorney (questionable ethics) may go well beyond her involvement and participation of falsifying unemployment compensation records.   

1. For example, Ms Laibstain and her firm, Hofheimer Nusbaum, failed to file a disciplinary charge against Mr. Harrison when she (Ms. Laibstain ) learned that Mr. Harrison had engaged in a potentially criminal act of sexually molesting her client. 

Self regulation and internal review is purportedly the primary method of cleaning house for the legal profession. 

"It requires that members of the profession initiate disciplinary investigation when they know of a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct". 

Accordingly, Ms. Laibstain appeared to violate the rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility during the course of her representation of her client. See partial references below:   

Rule 8.3 Reporting Professional Misconduct (a) A lawyer having reliable information that another attorney has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Misconduct that raises a substantial question as to lawyers honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer shall inform the appropriate authority.   

Rule 8.4 Misconduct (b) "It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal or deliberately wrongful act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer". 

The unethical implications for shirking her professional duties are further amplified when Ms. Laibstain learned that he (Harrison) was running for public office (originally in 1994 - four years after Ms. Laibstain was made aware of the incident and represented the victim). 

Lawyers holding public office assume legal and ethical responsibilities going well beyond those of other citizens. 

An attorney who engaged in a wrongful act of this magnitude should raise or should have raised a question as to his fitness both as a lawyer and candidate for public office. 

Surely, Ms. Laibstain was aware of her responsibilities to protect both her client and the public by reporting these series of abuses to the proper professional authorities.   

Rule 1.7 Conflicts of Interest: Comment:  Loyalty is an essential element in the lawyer's relationship to a client. 

Ms. Laibstain's alleged comment that she would "help Billy sue her if she (her client) violated the confidentiality agreement (See: Harrison story Part II) is an unconscionable remark for an attorney to even suggest to her client.   

The Code of Professional Conduct indicates that an impermissible conflict of interest may exist before representation is undertaken, in which event the representation should be declined. 

Ms. Laibstain acknowledged to her client that she had numerous professional and personal relationships with the Harrison firm. 

An obvious potential conflict existed that would inhibit her client from receiving unbiased and forthright legal guidance relating to her numerous legal options as well as opportunities of seeking vital professional counseling

An example of EEOC involvement may have significantly escalated the damages she (the victim could have) received as demonstrated in your article on historical penalties and consequences (See: History & consequences) of sexual harassment cases.   

It should be noted that an EEOC office is located in downtown Norfolk.   

AGG - Virginia Beach

See also: