Troubled Wollongong solicitor Anthony Autore has fallen foul of the law for the second time in less than a year after a tribunal found him guilty of professional misconduct this week.
The NSW Law Society launched proceedings against Autore in the Civil and Administrative Tribunal in 2017 alleging he failed to properly respond to its formal notice for information issued under the Legal Profession Uniform Law Application Act.
The notice sought Autore’s response to a series of formal questions about his conduct in handling a deceased estate, most notably key times and dates relating to the production of invoices, an itemised bill and conversations had between Autore and other parties.
However, the Law Society claimed Autore’s initial written response failed to address those details and he did not respond to multiple follow-up notices.
Autore was cross-examined by a lawyer for the Law Society’s during a four-day hearing, however his lack of a suitable explanation for the missing information ultimately led the tribunal to find him guilty of professional negligence.
It is the second time in recent months Autore’s has come under tribunal scrutiny and the second time he’s come off worse for wear.
In May last year, Autore was fined $5,000 and ordered to undergo a practice management course after he was found to have left a $12,600 bill from his barrister unpaid for more than three years.
The tribunal on that occasion found Autore’s behaviour showed a “substantial and consistent failure to maintain a reasonable standard of competence and diligence” under his professional obligations as a practising lawyer.
In the present case, the tribunal said it found Autore’s evidence in court “difficult to follow and sometimes inconsistent”.
They rejected suggestions from Autore that the notice issued to him had been unlawful and was simply the Law Society trying to “interrogate and cross-examine him”.
“We consider it disturbing that [Autore] has consistently failed to acknowledged his obligation to comply with the notice and fulfill his professional obligations.”
The case has been adjourned for a future hearing into what penalties should be imposed on Autore. He will retain his practising certificate in the meantime.
We consider it disturbing that [Autore] has consistently failed to acknowledged his obligation to comply with the notice and fulfill his professional obligationsCivil and Administrative Tribunal