The New York State Supreme Court, Third Appellate Division, has reinstated attorney Louis Rosenthal after a two year suspension for charging excessive legal fees. Rosenthal had handled estates of decedents who died without written wills or close relatives and served as counsel to the Brooklyn public administrator from 1997-2002.
In 2008, the Third Department suspended Rosenthal after investigators reportedly found he billed excessive fees of more than $2 million over a 5-year period. He was charging 8 percent when the standard fee in surrogate cases was 6 percent.
In addition to overbilling, investigators found the relationship between Rosenthal and former Surrogate Court Judge Michael Feinberg to be questionable, finding that they were former classmates and good friends. Over the reported 5-yer period, Feinburg granted $8.6 million in fees to Rosenthal without question. Feinburg was disbarred in 2005.
After two years had passed, Rosenthal petitioned the court to have his law license reinstated in 2010, which was granted. The court ruled that Rosenthal “possessed the character and general fitness to resume the practice of law.”
Matter of Louis R. Rosenthal, New York State Supreme Court, Third Appellate Division, No. D-45-11.