COLUMBUS —Using one client to gain another client got Youngstown attorney Joseph F. Rafidi a six month suspension from practicing law.
The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously agreed to suspend Rafidi’s license for six months after he reportedly used one client to gain access to one of the client’s family members who also needed legal help. The high court also found that representing both client’s at the same time despite a potential conflict of interest and without informing either client was wrong.
“Rafidi committed multiple ethical violations when he failed to disclose conflicts in his representation of two clients and he took advantage of an incarcerated individual’s vulnerability to further his own monetary self-interest,” the decision read.
According to the decision, Rafidi was representing a man in a drug case when he learned that the man’s cousin had been arrested and needed representation.
Rafidi reportedly used the man to find out if the cousin needed legal representation.
According to the decision, Rafidi also met with the cousin and told them he would represent them both in the matter.
“Rafidi’s actions in soliciting North were clearly motivated by his financial interest in a client who would generate a fee of $20,000 compared to the $250 that he had received from [the first man],” the decision read.