Disciplinary Counsel v. Christopher J. Burchinal, Case No. 2020-1206
The Board of Professional Conduct recommends that the Ohio Supreme Court disbar a Delaware County lawyer who was convicted of felony theft for misappropriating funds from a mentally incompetent client and continued to practice law after agreeing to cease during his pending criminal proceedings.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which filed the complaint against Christopher Burchinal, notes that the lawyer admitted to 37 violations of the rules governing the professional conduct of Ohio lawyers. In addition to committing theft, Burchinal repeatedly failed to provide services for which clients paid him to complete. He also lied to clients, their families, judges, and disciplinary investigators, the office states. Because Burchinal was suspended previously for two years with 18 months stayed in 2012, the disciplinary counsel contends that disbarment is the appropriate sanction for Burchinal.
Burchinal maintains he has expressed remorse for his actions, fully paid restitution to his clients, and has been engaged with the Ohio Lawyers Assistance Program (OLAP) to address mental disorders that impacted his practice. He asks the Supreme Court to impose an indefinite suspension. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court will hear arguments in the case by videoconference, which will be livestreamed.