An attorney who lost a deceased client’s will and who was convicted of a filing forged documents with the Manhattan Surrogate’s Court in an alleged attempt to cover his tracks has been disbarred.
According to court papers, James A. Robbins, a Manhattan attorney who specialized in elder law, filed forged receipts with the Surrogate’s Court in 2014 as well as a consent to probate form bearing a forged signature and, in 2015, an affirmation of tardiness form containing false information.
The New York Daily News reported last year that Robbins misplaced a deceased client’s will and that over the course of a year he made false statements to the family as to why there are delays in their case, including that the court required the will to be published in the Law Journal.
On April 13, Robbins pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument, a class D felony, and one count of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a class E felony.
Robbins was sentenced to a three-year supervised release and 500 hours of community service and also agreed to reimburse one of his victims.
In an unsigned decision handed down on Thursday, a panel of the Appellate Division, First Department said that, under Judiciary Law §90(4)(e), Robbins was automatically disbarred upon being convicted of felonies.
Justices Angela Mazzarelli, John Sweeny Jr., Rolando Acosta, Karla Moskowitz and Ellen Gesmer joined the decision in Matter of Robbins, M-423. Their ruling appears on page 6.
Vitaly Lipkansky appeared for the Departmental Disciplinary Committee.
Michael Ross of the Law Offices of Michael S. Ross represented Robbins, a University of Detroit Mercy School of Law graduate who was admitted into practice in New York in 1979.