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Adoption Disclosure Punished

January 8, 2015 permalink

Lawyers can represent and advocate for the worst-of-the-worst, rapists, terrorists, murderers, and it's all a legitimate part of the job. But a lawyer can be censured for revealing the truth. North Carolina lawyer Leslie Oliver Wickham Jr is in the legal doghouse for telling a mother and former foster mother the name of the family that adopted their child.



Durham attorney censured for revealing identity of a child's adoptive parents

Durham attorney Leslie Oliver Wickham Jr. was censured by the the N.C. State Bar after he revealed the names of a child's adoptive parents to the child's biological mother and the child's former foster mother, according to the order signed by John M. Silverstein, chairman of the Bar's Grievance Committee.

When contacted by phone, Wickham declined any further comment.

The release of this specific information constitutes a misdemeanor that "reflects on your trustworthiness as an attorney," according to the order. "You failed in your response to this grievance to recognize the real or potential harm of your conduct on the child and his adoptive family."

In the legal world, a censure is a more severe punishment than a reprimand, though not as serious as a disbarment.

"The Grievance Committee trusts that you will ponder this censure, recognize the error that you have made, and that you will never again allow yourself to depart from adherence to the high ethical standards of the legal profession," according to the order. "This censure should serve as a strong reminder and inducement for you to weigh carefully in the future your responsibility to the public, your clients, your fellow attorneys and the courts, to the end that you demean yourself as a respected member of the legal profession whose conduct may be relied upon without question."

Wickham, 62, holds a degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and works primarily as a personal injury attorney in the area of workers' compensation. According to the profile on his law office website, he has tried worker's compensation cases in 25 counties in North Carolina, deposed more than 100 doctors in North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and Virginia, and has served as chairman of the Workers' Compensation Section of the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers and of the Workers' Compensation Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

Source: Triangle Business Journal