Henry Hank Adorno (Jensen Larson, Jensen Larson)
Henry “Hank” Adorno, whose law firm collapsed after he mishandled a class action settlement, can practice law again.
The Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated Adorno’s license, which was suspended for three years in October 2010.
Adorno once ran the nation’s largest minority-owned law firm, Adorno & Yoss, with about 200 lawyers in offices scattered throughout the country.
But he was the target of a Florida Bar investigation for his handling of the city of Miami over an unconstitutional fire fee. The $7 million settlement was divvied up between his Coral Gables-based firm and seven people but delivered no refunds to Miami taxpayers.
Adorno strongly denied wrongdoing, but his law firm started unraveling.
Since then, he has been working in real estate development and living in South Carolina, said his friend and former Adorno & Yoss partner Charles Tatelbaum, now at Tripp Scott in Fort Lauderdale.
Adorno could not be reached for comment, but Tatelbaum said his friend deeply missed being a lawyer.
“I feel like he’s been in a straitjacket,” he said. “He’s had to walk on eggshells to make sure he doesn’t give out any legal advice.
“I’m excited for him,” Tatelbaum added. “Hank was a great lawyer and a super human being. He has a lot of great talents despite what happened.”
Tatelbaum said he’s not sure if Adorno will return to Miami.
Florida Bar president Greg Coleman said he’s certain Adorno would not be reinstated if both the Bar and the Supreme Court didn’t feel he was rehabilitated.
“The system has been designed to encourage people to be reinstated if they meet all the criteria, but they are strict and stringent criteria,” he said. “This Supreme Court is the toughest court that has sat as a group in terms of admission to the Bar and judicial misconduct. If this court did not feel that a person had paid their debt to society and shown rehabilitation … he or she would not be readmitted. They routinely reject all sorts of folks.”
The court gave no reason for reinstatement in its three-paragraph order.