A Red Bank attorney is in trouble with ethics authorities for allegedly continuing to practice law two years after his law license was revoked and after ethics authorities explicitly told him to stop.

According an April 5, 2017 ethics complaint, the Supreme Court revoked William John Bowe’s law license on August 18, 2014 due to his failure to file his attorney registration statements and pay annual registration fees for 2009 through 2014. 

On May 6, 2016, the Office of Attorney Ethics was alerted to the fact that Bowe, despite the revocation order, was still practicing law when it was notified by Bank of America that Bowe’s attorney trust account was overdrawn. A resulting investigation disclosed several alleged record-keeping violations pertaining to Bowe’s trust account including an allegedly improper commingling of personal funds relating to Bowe’s mother’s estate.

According to the complaint, Bowe, despite knowing that his license was revoked, continued to do legal work for his clients and send them legal services invoices.  According to ethics authorities, Bowe deposited $7,526.29 and $19,056.16 into his attorney business account on July 29, 2016 and September 30, 2016, respectively.  Both dates are after Bowe’s June 23, 2016 interview with ethics officials.

The complaint goes on to allege that Bowe, in a January 26, 2017 certification in support of his attempt to have his license restored, misled the Board of Bar Examiners.  Bowe had stated in his certification that in mid-May 2016 he “panicked from the shock of the news” that his law license was revoked and “tried to wind-down certain pending real estate matters with the intent to avoid causing the clients to experience delays or undue prejudice.” The complaint alleges that Bowe’s certification “deceitfully omits facts and circumstances regarding [Bowe’s] unauthorized practice of law, which continued despite multiple notifications from [ethics authorities].”

The ethics charges are only allegations–nothing has been proven. Bowe has a right to a hearing and the burden of proof is on disciplinary officials to prove that he violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. Since 1995, attorney disciplinary hearings have been open to the public.  Anyone who is interested in being notified in advance of any hearings on Bowe’s matter may complete and send a hearing request form to the Office of Attorney Ethics in care of Barbara Cristofaro via fax to 609-530-5238. 

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]