Former McDermott Will & Emery partner Bruce Paul Golden is facing disbarment in Illinois after officials learned that he had allegedly lied about his income on a financial aid form for a private school. The school is Francis W. Parker, one of the most affluent schools in Chicago. I graduated from Parker’s traditional rival, Latin School of Chicago. Both are ridiculously expensive, but Golden is accused of actually altering his tax forms to establish a base for support.
After graduating from Harvard in 1969, Golden worked at McDermott for over 20 years until he was let go in 1991. The alleged false information given to Parker occurred after he lost his job. He was then accused of dodging service, filing meritless pleadings, and according to the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission “continually blamed others for everything wrong in his life.” With a divorce in the mix, it sounds like Golden’s life was falling apart — which might be a mitigating circumstance. However, the most serious charge is the false information. It is exceptionally rare for such an allegation to make it to the bar.
He sent in applications for support to Parker for the 1999-2000 school year, the 2002-03 school year, and the 2003-04 school year. As part of the Parents’ Financial Statement, parents were required to submit a copy of the federal income tax return they had filed for the preceding year.
“Respondent prepared and signed the Parents’ Financial Statement for each of the three academic years involved. By signing the Parents’ Financial Statement, Respondent declared the information in the document was true, correct, and complete.
In each Parents’ Financial Statement, Respondent significantly underreported the income obtained during the preceding year. The admitted allegations of the Complaint established Respondent knew the information he placed on the Parents’ Financial Statements was false and intended to mislead Parker. The admitted allegations of the Complaint also constituted proof the tax returns Respondent submitted to Parker were not accurate copies of his tax returns, but altered copies containing false information.
Based on the false information thus provided, Parker awarded financial aid to Respondent’s daughter. Specifically, Parker gave Respondent’s daughter $6,160 in financial aid for the 2001-02 school year, $7,884 in financial aid for the 2002-03 school year; and $8,786 for the 2003-04 school year. Respondent’s family would not have been eligible for the financial aid awarded for these years if Respondent had not submitted false information.”
There was a division on the panel with one member suggesting a three-year suspension. I would have expected such a suspension as opposed to a disbarment in most such cases. Because this did not involve a client, a suspension is generally the response to acts of personal misrepresentation. Attorneys are routinely accused of bad checks and other offenses without facing disbarment or even suspension. The recommendation below makes it sound like Golden infuriated the board with his aggressive and perhaps unprofessional conduct in his own case.
Here is the board recommendation.
Source: Law Profs