Former Cozen Associate Suspended for 30 Months

/ 11.Apr, 2012

Matthew Francis Henry, a former Cozen O’Connor associate, has been suspended from practicing for 30 months by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for extravagant false billings to clients and practicing law without holding an active license.

The court order described five examples of situations in which Henry falsely submitted bills.  In one case, Henry billed Cozen client Lititz Mutual Insurance Company for 18 months after the litigation had ended, and included times spent on nonexistent motions and false travel to hearings.  In the end, Henry submitted $77,000 in false bills, of which Lititz had paid approximately $19,000.  Cozen O’Connor discovered the false billing in May 2009, rescinded the client’s unpaid bills and refunded what they had already paid. Henry was found to have violated seven rules of professional conduct, including RPC 1.1, RPC 1.3, RPC 1.4, RPC 1.5, RPC 4.1, and RPC 8.4 (rules dealing with competence, diligence, communication, fees, truthfulness in statements, and misconduct). Four months after failing to renew his license, Henry, while continuing to practice at Cozen, turned himself into the disciplinary board and notified them of the false billing.  He agreed to a 30 month suspension.  A letter from a psychologist who treated Henry was included in the disciplinary order.  The letter, written in September 2011, describes problems with alcohol and marijuana abuse.  As we have previously noted, up to 60% of all legal malpractice cases involve alcohol abuse.  Legal malpractice avoidance best practices include careful attitudes about billing, and a careful watch over personal habits. –Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire, Shilpa Kadoo