Family Law Lawyer Arrested for Forging Court Orders

Every profession has its bad apples and the legal profession is no exception. Often times the censured conduct does not actually benefit the perpetrator, but is a desperate attempt to solve an already out-of control problem.

This seems to be the story coming out of Atlanta, Georgia in respect of family law attorney Lynn Swank. Ms. Swank was retained by the Catholic Diocese in Atlanta to do the legal work for four separate adoptions being facilitated by the Catholic charity.

She was retained in the early Spring of 2009 and in August 2009 when queried by her client as to the status of the adoption applications, she told them that all was in order and that the paperwork would be available shortly. Not happy with the extraordinary delay, the Diocese fired Ms. Swank even though she had a long term professional relationship with them.

The truth, however, was that Ms. Swank had not even begun the legal process, although by this time she had been paid in full by her client. In June 2010, the Catholic charity received copies of the four court orders and the matter seemed to be concluded.

However, on one of the orders the Diocese identified a misspelled name and sent the order back to the Judge who had made the order to correct the error. When the judge reviewed the order she immediately realized that her signature on the order was a forgery.

Last week Ms. Swank was arrested for forgery, perjury and theft by deception and held in custody. She was called to appear before the judge whose signature she had forged and when questioned by the court, she testified that her husband had forged the documents. After a short investigation it was determined that her husband could not have been involved since he was out of the area at the relevant time.

Truly a sad ending for a lawyer who spent over thirty years practicing family law, no doubt assisting many separated couples with their life changing situations. Her conduct was not just wrong, it was criminal, but the best outcome for Ms. Swank is that she will receive the help she needs.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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