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don’t repay debt = lose your right to practice law

An interesting blurb in reportonbusiness.com. The nub: Lawyer fails to repay student loans. Court revokes his license to practice law. Why?

“there is a clear and rational connection between Santulli’s lack of trustworthiness or reliability in carrying out responsibilities and the likelihood that he will harm a client, obstruct administration of justice or violate the disciplinary rules.”

It seems somewhat counterintuitive to take away a person’s primary means of earning an income to repay the debt as punishment for not repaying it – almost a “lose-lose” solution if you will. In addition, the reasons given seem to be somewhat overreaching. It’s one thing to take away someone’s license to practice if they do harm a client, obstruct administration of justice or violate disciplinary rules, but doing so because there is a “connection” to the “likelihood” that they will do so? Sure, there may possibly be some tenuous connection to failure to pay debt and being less professional to one’s clients. There is also a higher likelihood that he may rob a bank? While they’re at it, why don’t they just throw him in jail for that as well?

I’m certainly not suggesting he shouldn’t repay the debt or that there shouldn’t be sanctions for that. There should be. Seize his assets. Garnish his wages. And so on. There are a whole arsenal of tools available to creditors. But taking away his license to practice. That I don’t get.

Guess I better go pay that credit card off…

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