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A decade ago, Neal Sher was a prominent name in Washington. He’d tracked down Nazis for the Justice Department, lobbied for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and even tried his hand at representing art dealers. But when he was disbarred in 2003 for bilking money from the Holocaust victims insurance fund, it seemed that the long-time attorney was leaving the profession for good. Sher may have left Washington, but not the law. He’s back in business in New York, remaking himself as a solo practitioner. It seems the New York Bar had a different take on Sher’s actions. While chief of staff at the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, Sher took $106,426 — the difference between the business-class airplane fares he submitted for reimbursement, which he was authorized to take, and the economy-class tickets he actually purchased. Sher eventually repaid the entire amount. To the D.C. Bar Counsel, this deserved a five-year disbarment. But to the New York Supreme Court, the misdeeds only merited a one-year suspension, which ended in May 2006. “I really think that in that light it was unduly harsh,” Sher says of the D.C. disbarment, to which he consented. The D.C. Bar Counsel’s office declines comment. Sher says he’s been working with other lawyers to develop business but declined to elaborate on any new clients or work. He says he’s drawing on the same work he’s always done: art, lobbying, and work in the Jewish community. Though disbarred in the District., Sher hasn’t ruled out a return to Washington. “I spent an entire career there,” he says. “Certainly, at some point, it’s within the realm of possibility.”
Emma Schwartz can be contacted at [email protected].

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