Some would say that Grant Goodman caught a break yesterday when a disciplinary hearing panel suspended him from the practice of law for only two years after finding that the Phoenix attorney violated several Rules of Professional Conduct--exploiting "vulnerable individuals" and lying to the court among them
Readers of our paper may remember this cover story a few years back by our former colleague Sarah Fenske (now the editor of our "sister" paper, the LA Weekly, that pretty much eviscerated the litigious little dude while exposing his B.S. (the latter is a legal term).
"A growing number of probate court observers worry,' Fenske wrote at the time, "that Grant Goodman is less a white knight than a shark who smells blood in the water -- and that he intends to use Maricopa County's most vulnerable for both good publicity and a fat payday."
Earlier, Goodman had been lionized in a series of Arizona Republic stories about troubles in the county's Probate Court, though he soon became known for filing endless frivolous court papers against judges, court-appointed guardians and lawyers under the guise of protecting Probate Court clients.
Then, stop the presses, he would try and rake in substantial legal fees for his "work."
The State Bar alleged a pattern of misconduct involving five separate matters, including the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, making knowing false statements to the court, opposing counsel, and failing to respond to the State Bar's request for information (never, ever do the latter, lawyers!)
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The hearing panel issued a 71-page order that details its findings against Goodman, who has been a licensed attorney for 28 years.
Goodman had been on interim suspension since last July 21, after the Acting Presiding Disciplinary judge (George Riemer) announced that his conduct posed a threat of substantial harm, loss or damage to the public, the legal profession or the administration of justice. Goodman's permanent two-year suspension is retroactive to the interim date, so it is possible that he may be reinstated in little more than a year.
However, Goodman will be required to undergo formal proceedings should he seek. He is also required to pay all costs of his disciplinary proceedings to the Arizona Supreme Court and the
State Bar of Arizona--that won't be cheap.