I was in the middle of the federal criminal trial, an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone, when my attorney, Jay Milano, told he needed an emergency loan to keep his law firm afloat. He followed up with a series of e mails saying “the law firm can no longer sustain the effort, the lawyers and the staff, without an immediate infusion of funds.” I later found out that Mr. Milano’s law partner, Rachael Weiser, left the firm after a dispute over money and that Mr. Milano was working on a mortgage modification on his house in Rocky River because he was behind on his mortgage payments. Mr. Milano’s financial crisis caused him to do the following during trial:

(1) Ask me to sign a new fee agreement, a “contingency” fee agreement;
(2) E mail family members without permission seeking a “$25,000 loan;”
(3) Contact my insurance company in an attempt to have a $75,000 insurance policy assigned to him personally; and
(4) Threaten “changing circumstances” if $50,000 not in his hands “by Tuesday at 5 PM.”

After I fired Mr. Milano and obtained my client file, I discovered that fees I paid Mr. Milano for an investigation were never used to pay his investigator. He simply pocketed those dollars for himself, never obtained any investigative materials and he appeared at a criminal trial without one piece of paper.

I hired an expert in an attorney’s professional responsibility, Mr. Richard Koblentz, www.Koblentz-Law.com, to review Mr. Milano’s behavior. Mr. Koblentz produced a detailed report concluding that Mr. Milano violated numerous rules of professional responsibility that govern attorneys. Anyone thinking about doing business with Jay Milano should contact me or review a copy of this report. By the way, Mr. Milano teaches ethics at Case Western Reserve University Law School — if you think there’s something wrong with that, kindly contact Law School Dean Michael Scharf at [email protected] and let him know your thoughts.

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