State of Nebraska ex rel. Counsel for Discipline of the Nebraska Supreme Court, relator.
Jeremy C. Jorgenson, respondent.
Disciplinary Proceedings: Appeal and Error.
Because attorney discipline cases are original proceedings
before the Nebraska Supreme Court, the court reviews a
referee's recommendations de novo on the record, reaching
a conclusion independent of the referee's findings.
Disciplinary Proceedings. The basic issues
in a disciplinary proceeding against an attorney are whether
discipline should be imposed and, if so, the appropriate
discipline evaluated under the particular facts and
circumstances of the case.
___.To determine whether and to what extent discipline should
be imposed in an attorney discipline proceeding, the Nebraska
Supreme Court considers the following factors: (1) the nature
of the offense, (2) the need for deterring others, (3) the
maintenance of the reputation of the bar as a whole, (4) the
protection of the public, (5) the attitude of the respondent
generally, and (6) the respondent's present or future
fitness to continue in the practice of law.
For purposes of determining the proper discipline of an
attorney, the Nebraska Supreme Court considers the
attorney's actions both underlying the events of the case
and throughout the proceeding, as well as any aggravating or
Judgments: Records: Judicial Notice. A court
has the right to examine its own records and take judicial
notice of its own proceedings and judgments in a former
Disciplinary Proceedings. The Nebraska
Supreme Court has generally, but not always, disbarred
attorneys who continue to practice law despite their
Repeatedly ignoring requests for information from the Counsel
for Discipline indicates a disrespect for the Nebraska
Supreme Court's [302 Neb. 189] disciplinary jurisdiction
and a lack of concern for the protection of the public, the
profession, and the administration of justice.
The Nebraska Supreme Court considers an attorney's
failure to respond to inquiries and requests for information
from the Counsel for Discipline as an important matter and as
a threat to the credibility of attorney disciplinary
A history of violating disciplinary rules and a history of
failing to communicate with clients, courts, and the Counsel
for Discipline represent a pattern of noncompliance with
disciplinary rules, and cumulative acts of attorney
misconduct are distinguishable from isolated incidents,
therefore justifying more serious sanctions.
___. Cumulative acts of attorney misconduct can, and often
do, lead to disbarment.
___. Remorse is a mitigating factor when considering the
appropriate sanction in an attorney disciplinary proceeding.
Disciplinary Proceedings: Proof. To
establish depression as a mitigating factor in a proceeding
to discipline an attorney, the attorney is required to show
(1) medical evidence that he or she is affected by
depression, (2) that depression was a direct and substantial
contributing cause to the misconduct, and (3) that treatment
of the depression will substantially reduce the risk of
___: ___. The Nebraska Supreme Court will apply the issue of
substance abuse as a mitigating factor in an attorney
disciplinary proceeding only after the attorney presents
evidence that he or she acknowledges the condition,
voluntarily seeks treatment, and terminates use of the
Disciplinary Proceedings. The purpose of a
disciplinary proceeding against an attorney is not so much to
punish the attorney as it is to determine whether it is in
the public interest that an attorney be permitted to
practice, which question includes considerations of the
protection of the public.
___. The propriety of a sanction must be considered with
reference to the sanctions imposed in prior similar cases.
Original action. Judgment of disbarment.
L. Agena, Assistant Counsel for Discipline, for relator.
appearance for respondent.
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, Papik,
and Fqreudenberg, JJ.
Neb. 190] PER CURIAM.
an attorney discipline case against Jeremy C. Jorgenson
stemming from violations occurring after Jorgenson was
administratively suspended from the practice of law in
Nebraska for failing to satisfy mandatory continuing legal
education (MCLE) reporting requirements. Formal charges were
filed against Jorgenson, claiming violations of Neb. Ct. R.
§ 3-316 (rev. 2014) (notification requirements by
disbarred or suspended members) and Neb. Ct. R. of Prof.
Cond. §§ 3-501.4 (communications), 3-501.16
(declining or terminating representation), 3-505.5 (rev.
2012) (unauthorized practice of law), 3-508.1 (bar admission
and disciplinary matters), and 3-508.4 (rev. 2016)
(misconduct), as well as his oath of office as an attorney as
provided by Neb. Rev. Stat. § 7-104 (Reissue 2012).
Jorgenson admitted the charges, a judgment on the pleadings
was entered, and a hearing on the question of appropriate
sanctions was held before an appointed referee. The
referee's report following this hearing recommended
Jorgenson be disbarred. Upon our de novo review and for the
reasons set forth herein, we agree with the referee's
recommendation and conclude that disbarment is the proper
was admitted to the practice of law in Nebraska on April 15,
2008. At all relevant times, he was engaged in the practice
of law in Nebraska. Between December 2016 and July 2017,
Jorgenson was also practicing law in Illinois, where he had
moved. In July, Jorgenson apparently moved back to Nebraska
but has failed to provide updated contact information to the
Attorney Services Division or the Counsel for Discipline
since that time.
has previously been the subject of two disciplinary cases and
one administrative suspension in Nebraska. In the first
action in October 2012, Jorgenson received a public reprimand
and was placed on probation for 1 year due to a [302 Neb.
191] violation relating to contingent fee
agreements. In the second action, Jorgenson was
disciplined for failing to provide competent and diligent
representation to a client when he failed to appear for oral
arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth
Circuit, failed to adequately supervise his support staff,
and failed to timely respond to demands for information from
the Counsel for Discipline. In that case, Jorgenson was
indefinitely suspended in February 2018 from the practice of
law in Nebraska, with a minimum suspension of 2 years.
Finally, and relevant to the present violations, Jorgenson
was the subject of an administrative suspension commencing
June 14, 2017, for failure to fulfill his MCLE requirements
for 2016. Although Jorgenson testified in the present case
that he completed his MCLE for 2016, no substantive evidence
regarding completion of those requirements was submitted.
present action, Jorgenson admitted to all the allegations
within the formal charges with the exception of one sentence,
which was subsequently withdrawn. Therefore, the facts
alleged are uncontested and may be taken as true.
amended formal charges contain five counts. Count I alleges
Jorgenson continued to practice law by filing pleadings for a
client in Douglas County Court after his administrative
suspension. These pleadings included a "Plea of Not
Guilty/ Waiver of Appearance/Appearance of Counsel" on
the client's behalf on July 7, 2017. Jorgenson failed to
notify this client in writing that he had been suspended,
failed to assist the client with obtaining new
representation, and failed to promptly refund all client
funds and provide a full accounting. These failures continued
after he was contacted by the client's new counsel in
Neb. 192] Count II alleges that during his administrative
suspension. Jorgenson represented a client in a criminal
matter in Merrick County District Court who had entered a
guilty plea and was scheduled to be sentenced on August 7,
2017. Jorgenson failed to attend the sentencing hearing and
notified the client by text message on the morning of the
hearing that he was suspended. Jorgenson failed to notify the
client in writing that his license had been suspended, failed
to assist the client in ...