Hearing date set in reinstatement of LGBT attorney

Hearing date set in reinstatement of LGBT attorney

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A February hearing date has been scheduled to consider Robert P. Tuerk’s petition to resume practicing law in Pennsylvania. Tuerk, a longtime LGBT advocate, has been suspended as a Pennsylvania attorney since October 2015.

For several years, Tuerk faced difficulties relating to his law license, stemming from a 1985 arrest for an LGBT-related morals charge in Philadelphia.

Tuerk hasn’t been convicted of a crime anywhere, and his 1985 charges subsequently were expunged, according to court records.

But in October 2015, Tuerk’s law license was suspended in Pennsylvania for a year and a day, after he failed to inform federal-court officials of the arrest.

Tuerk’s license to practice law in Florida also was suspended, due to the Pennsylvania suspension. But Tuerk’s problems were compounded when he allegedly failed to file an affidavit relating to his Florida suspension in a timely matter.

In legal documents, Tuerk maintains he filed the affidavit as soon as he realized he was required to do so. But in July, the Florida Supreme Court disbarred Tuerk in the Sunshine State.

Tuerk seeks to resume practicing law in Pennsylvania, despite his disbarment in Florida. But Pennsylvania’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel recently announced its opposition to Tuerk’s reinstatement here.

The office cited Tuerk’s problems in Florida and other allegations. They include his alleged failure to file necessary tax documents, advertisements on LinkedIn while suspended and his “depressed state of mind” as reasons to oppose Tuerk’s reinstatement.

The Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board has scheduled a hearing on Tuerk’s reinstatement for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 14 at 1601 Market St., Suite 3320.

The public is permitted to attend but no personal computers are allowed in the hearing room.

Tuerk’s 230-page petition for reinstatement in Pennsylvania states: “I have accepted the error of my ways that have caused my suspension and I take full responsibility for the same. I look forward to being reinstated so that I may continue to excel in the legal field, and to continue to assist the under-represented. I’m also interested in getting involved in the area of ethics.”

Tuerk’s petition also confirms that he recently completed 36 hours of legal-education classes, with at least 12 hours devoted to the area of ethics.

According to legal documents, “[Tuerk] supports his community through volunteer activities such as landscaping for a historic church, delivering meals to the sick, and performing paralegal work for an innocence non-profit. To disbar him would be ruinous to his life and detrimental to society.”

Tuerk was the first out candidate to seek a judgeship on Philadelphia Traffic Court. He also has provided extensive pro-bono legal work in the community and served on the Police Liaison Committee.

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