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Published January 13 2011

Court overturns 30-day suspension of lawyer

A Fargo lawyer will not be suspended from practicing law for 30 days after he missed a 2009 civil trial due to a scheduling conflict, the North Dakota Supreme Court decided in a ruling handed down Wednesday.

According to the court’s ruling:

The state’s disciplinary board had ordered William Kirschner to serve the 30-day suspension because he declined to change plans to visit family in Florida in January 2009 to represent two clients in a civil trial scheduled at the same time.

Kirschner had asked for a continuance, as the plane tickets were nonrefundable and he needed to attend to health and business issues for his elderly father.

A panel that considered a complaint recommended a 30-day suspension, but the Supreme Court said due to several mitigating factors, an official reprimand was a sufficient sanction.

The mitigating factors cited included Kirschner accepting responsibility for the scheduling error and showing remorse, as well as his cooperation with the disciplinary action.

He is still required to pay the $3,659 cost of the disciplinary proceedings.