For lawyer-discipline authorities in the seemingly never-ending battle against thieving attorneys, the case against James M. Higgins Jr. is their equivalent of breaking the sound barrier.

Financial irregularities in his clients’ estate accounts, discovered Sept. 8, led to allegations that Higgins stole approximately $58,000 in client and firm funds from Manchester, Conn.’s Penny, Botticello, O’Brien & Higgins, where he was a name partner. Just 81 days later, the 51-year-old attorney’s law license was suspended by order of New London Superior Court Judge James J. Devine. Higgins, who has admitted to the defalcations, has been fired by the law firm and his name has been removed from its shingle.

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