Thursday, May 15, 2003

Legal career over for former municipal judge

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - A well-known local attorney and former judge, Michael S. Conese, will never again be allowed to practice law in Ohio.

In a document filed Tuesday with the Butler County Common Pleas Court, the state Supreme Court accepted Conese's resignation from the practice of law - an order that is irrevocable.

Such a step is considered extraordinary. The court says Ohio has 39,794 active attorneys and 8,873 on inactive status, meaning they have put their law practice on hold. Last year, the court approved only 13 attorneys' resignations.

The court, which took its action on May 7, ordered Conese to take several steps, including notifying all clients and opposing attorneys of his resignation. He also must file an affidavit and proof of compliance with the post-resignation orders within 30 days of the order.

Attempts to reach Conese, 45, for comment have been unsuccessful; he listed no reason for leaving the legal profession when he applied to resign in early April. Conese had just completed a six-month suspension for violating professional conduct rules involving client funds.

He had been a Hamilton Municipal Court judge from 1990-95.

His brother, Mark A. Conese, continues to practice law.

However, he faces disciplinary charges for alleged professional misconduct in a 2000 Democratic Party campaign-finance controversy, despite an appeals court's reversal of his conviction on a misdemeanor in that case. Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper is attempting to challenge that reversal.

The Conese brothers both were admitted to the practice of law in Ohio on Nov. 1, 1983.


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