Auckland lawyer censured

Lateral Lawyers director has avoided a practicing suspension following two drink driving convictions.

Auckland lawyer Shane Alan Rohde has been censured by the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal, but avoided calls by the standard committee for a practice suspension.

Rohde, who was convicted of two DUI charges, once in May of 2014 and again in September of 2015, admitted to the charge of having been convicted of offences punishable by imprisonment, reflecting on his fitness to practice and potentially bring the legal profession into disrepute.

The Tribunal found that Rohde, who admitted to the charge, had not put his clients at risk by his offending. He had been attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, the Tribunal heard, and decided a suspension would not be necessary.

“It is well recognised that lawyers have to maintain a very high standard of conduct, both when carrying out their profession and also as citizens of New Zealand,” said Law Society president Chris Moore.

“The question is always whether the public need to be directly protected as a result of the lawyer's conduct.”

The Tribunal told Rohde that as a lawyer, he has a statutory and ethical obligation to uphold the rule of law, and called his conduct appalling.

He was censured and fined $10,000. He was ordered to pay $3,806 in Law Society costs and hearing costs of $1,992.

“I'm pleased with the outcome. I think it's a fair decision. I'm committed to my sobriety and helping others who are in a similar predicament,” Rohde said.

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