Edward Vincent offers to resign bar, as disbarment considered

Edgartown attorney Edward “Pete” Vincent Jr. offered to resign from the Massachusetts Bar, effectively giving up his license to practice law, in a January 20 affidavit sent to the state Board of Bar Overseers. The Board of Bar Overseers is the division of the Supreme Judicial Court that investigates and recommends discipline of lawyers.

Last fall, Mr. Vincent was convicted in Edgartown District Court of larceny after admitting that he misappropriated nearly $600,000 of his clients’ money. The Supreme Judicial Court temporarily suspended his license on November 7, 2011.

In the affidavit, Mr. Vincent said he does not want to contest any discipline now pending and acknowledged that he is likely to be disbarred.

“I acknowledge that bar counsel will recommend that the affidavit of resignation be accepted and that a judgment of disbarment enter,” Mr. Vincent wrote in the signed document. “I understand that I may also make recommendations regarding these matters, but that neither the Board of Bar Overseers nor the Supreme Judicial Court is bound to adopt such recommendations or my resignation, that the Board of Bar Overseers may recommend my disbarment, and that the Supreme Judicial Court may disbar me without any further proceedings.”

The Board of Bar Overseers is expected to consider the offer to resign, as well as decide what discipline it will recommend, at its next public meeting on February 13. Its recommendations go to a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court, who will decide what action to take.

According to Michael Fredrickson, general counsel for the Board of Bar Overseers, the justices nearly always accept the recommendation of the board. He said an offer to resign is common in disciplinary cases. He said it has the same effect as disbarment.

An attorney who resigns from the bar cannot practice law, and may not apply for reinstatement for eight years. Mr. Fredrickson said it is also common in such cases that the board recommends disbarment in addition to accepting the resignation.

In a statement of disciplinary charges, attorney Constance Vecchione wrote that Mr. Vincent admitted to a summary of the facts. Ms. Vecchione represents the Office of Bar Counsel, which investigates and prosecutes complaints against lawyers.

“The respondent represented a seller in one real estate transaction and represented buyers in another unrelated real estate transaction,” wrote Ms. Vecchione. “The respondent intentionally withheld approximately $190,000 owed to the seller in the first transaction and approximately $400,000 owed to the other from the proceeds in the second transaction, and he used these funds for his own benefit. The respondent has made full restitution to the appropriate parties.”

On November 4, 2011, in Edgartown District Court, Mr. Vincent admitted to sufficient facts on two counts of larceny. The admission resulted in a felony conviction for Mr. Vincent. His case was continued for two years with probationary conditions, including 100 hours of community service.

A prominent lawyer in Edgartown at the time of his arrest, Mr. Vincent continues to serve in local government as an appointed member of the Edgartown conservation commission, and the elected representative to the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission.