Florida maritime attorney suspended
The Florida yachting community has been shaken by the news that Danielle Butler, Luxury Law Group former managing partner, has been suspended by the Florida Supreme Court (effective Friday, June 18th). The Fort Lauderdale-based maritime attorney pleaded no contest in separate criminal proceedings which accused her of grand theft in the third degree and, as a result, was sentenced to one year of probation for the intent to try to steal money from a client.
There is an opportunity to rehear the case according to the Florida Supreme Court. However the filing of a motion to rehear, should it come, will not alter the effective date of the suspension. Butler told Superyacht Investor: “I have been and am working with my team of attorneys to resolve all criminal and bar issues in my favour and clear my name.”
Butler states that all allegations are against her personally and not Luxury Law Group and/or Luxury Financial Group or its principals. She further states that there are no allegations concerning the misappropriation of any client funds that were held in any of Luxury Law Group’s bank accounts. The former client’s allegations concerned a cost invoice that was emailed to the client that was calculated incorrectly.
Butler, who has been a member of the Florida Bar since October 2001, co-founded Luxury Law Group back in 2014 and, until recently, she was a principal at Luxury Financial Group since 2017. Butler is also the former chairwoman of the board of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.
Jan L Jacobowitz, founder, Legal Ethics Advisor, told SYI that the specific allegations against Butler are rare. “Which is probably why the coverage has been greater than the more common misconduct that occurs when attorneys mishandle client funds via their trust accounts.”
Jacobowitz adds: “As the Florida Bar has often explained to my students. The bar is not out to prosecute lawyers – just don’t lie, cheat, or steal – other ‘honest’ mistakes can often be resolved without any significant detriment to your licence.”
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