SJC allows prominent lawyer Stephen Hrones to resume handling criminal cases
Essdras Suarez/Globe file photo 2008
The state’s highest court has reinstated the legal license of Stephen Hrones, a once-prominent lawyer who was suspended after the court concluded he let a non-lawyer handle cases for his firm.
“I’m excited to get back to the practice of law,’’ Hrones said in a recent telephone interview.
In a long career that came to an abrupt halt in September 2010, Hrones has handled numerous high-profile criminal cases, including being the first Boston attorney to represent Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, the con man who posed as “Clark Rockefeller.’’
Hrones also represented Donnell Johnson, who was convicted but later exonerated of the 1996 killing of 9-year-old Jermaine Goffigan.
The Supreme Judicial Court suspended Hrones after the Board of Bar Overseers concluded Hrones had agreed with Lionel Porter, a non-lawyer, to split fees from a discrimination law practice operating out of Hrones’s office, but Hrones did not properly supervise the cases.
The SJC earlier this month approved Hrones’s return to the law, provided that he handle only criminal cases and police misconduct cases, the two areas he long specialized in.
Hrones, who became a lawyer in 1972, closed his Boston office when he was suspended. He plans to resume his practice from his Concord home.
“I’m going to ease my way back in,’’ Hrones said. “I’m going to work out of my home for a while and see how it goes.’’
The SJC based its decision on the findings by the Board of Bar Overseers, which voted to reinstate Hrones’s license in an eight-page ruling that credited his work representing indigent clients over the years. Hrones is now 70, the board noted.
Hrones “throughout his career, has extended himself on behalf of those least able to afford legal services,’’ the board concluded. “Given his value to his clients and to the public perception of the legal profession, we believe he should be permitted the honor and dignity of finishing his career as a lawyer doing what he does well.’’John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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