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A former tax partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher has been suspended from practice for one year for billing clients for $30,000 worth of personal long-distance calls. Patrick Carmody, who joined Willkie in 1990 and became a partner in 1998, resigned from the firm in April 2003, shortly after his misconduct was discovered. At the time, he testified at a disciplinary hearing last year, he had been earning around $1 million a year at the firm. But the referee who heard the case determined that Mr. Carmody’s actions were not aimed at saving money but at concealing from the firm the amount of time he was spending on non-billable personal matters. Mr. Carmody, 45, sought “to avoid the embarrassment and professional repercussions that he perceived would occur if the Willkie partners . . . became aware that he was not functioning as efficiently as expected of a highly compensated partner,” the referee, Donald M. Zolin, wrote in his report. The referee recommended only a six-month suspension on the grounds that Mr. Carmody had not sought to gain financially from his actions and because the firm’s wealthy clients had not been “truly victimized” by the relatively small charges. A four-lawyer hearing panel disagreed, however, and called Mr. Carmody’s actions “simple thievery.” They recommended a one-year suspension, which the Appellate Division, First Department, confirmed Thursday in In the Matter of Patrick Carmody, M-355. The ruling appears on page 8 of the print edition of today’s Law Journal. The 129 hours of personal calls at issue took place over a roughly two-year period spanning 2001 and 2002. During the time, the Irish-born Mr. Carmody was undergoing a painful divorce involving a custody battle over his three children. He argued that this personal turmoil, combined with the pressures of work and trauma from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which he witnessed from his office, led to “panic attacks” during which he felt an urgent compulsion to talk to relatives and friends in Ireland and the United Kingdom. He said that, under these panicked circumstances, it did not occur to him that clients would be billed for his calls. “I really didn’t care about anything except speaking to somebody at that point in time, as strange as that all sounds now,” Mr. Carmody testified last year, according to a transcript of the disciplinary hearing. But Mr. Zolin said these claims lacked credibility. He noted that Mr. Carmody dialed an 11-digit client code when making most of his calls and, in some cases where he did not, wrote different clients’ names on billing sheets to indicate that calls should be charged to them. The referee also took issue with Mr. Carmody’s claim that he never memorized the code used to bill charges to himself. “It defies credulity that respondent dialed those eleven-digit codes and made those hand-written entries in some sort of panicked state for almost two years,” the referee wrote, “and that after years of being a partner he did not know his personal billing code when he admittedly used it for other personal expenses even during the same period as he was making unauthorized calls.” The clients to which Mr. Carmody attributed personal calls included Swiss Re Capital, Credit Suisse and W.R. Berkley Corp. All clients billed for personal calls were ultimately reimbursed. Mr. Carmody testified that he had tried using both a cell phone and a calling card to make his personal calls. But he said he was unable to get cellular reception in Willkie’s midtown offices and did not want to have his personal conversations outside. He also said he was unable to figure out how to enter the calling card number into his office phone. Too much stress A 1982 graduate of University College in Dublin, Mr. Carmody worked as a lawyer in Ireland for a few years before coming to the United States to earn an L.L.M. degree at New York University School of Law. He joined Willkie after graduation. One of the city’s most prestigious firms, Willkie counts former governor of New York Mario Cuomo among its partners. At the time of his misconduct, Mr. Carmody testified that he was billing between 2,200 and 2,400 hours a year and spending an additional 400 hours on client development and recruiting. He claimed this stressful existence contributed to his behavior and he testified that his life had improved considerably since leaving the firm. He is currently chief operating officer for Socratic Fund Management, a hedge fund in Short Hills, N.J. Mr. Carmody said that last year the fund had $200 million under management, some of which had come from his former Willkie clients. He said his agreement with the fund was that he would leave most days by 4:15 p.m. Asked by his lawyer, Denise A. Scalise, why he wanted to maintain his law license, Mr. Carmody said he may want to return to practice in the future. He also said it was a matter of pride, according to the transcript of the hearing. “I worked very hard to get where I got,” he testified. “And I was very proud of being a lawyer. I just didn’t like what I was doing as a lawyer at Willkie, which is another stress factor I had to eliminate, not just the hours but the actual substance of work that I was doing [that] wasn’t feeling fulfilling.” Mr. Carmody did not return a call seeking comment. Willkie Farr Chairman Jack Nusbaum declined to comment on the matter. Anthony Lin can be reached at [email protected]

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