It was reciprocal discipline based an an earlier 3 year suspension in Louisiana.
I started reading the link that Stern provided, and IMO the Louisiana suspension order has more than a little dickishness in it. Schwartz had collaborated on 25 prior cases in Louisiana federal court with one Seth Cortigene, a Louisiana lawyer. In each of these actions Cortigene had been the lawyer who filed the case and Schwartz had been admitted pro hac vice. In the 26th case, Schwartz neglected to file the pro hac vice motion.
There's no real excuse for that, but on the other hand, bigger slip-ups happen all the time
with no consequences, or much lighter ones. I would have thought that the matter could have been handled by the federal court with a couple of orders reminding Schwartz to get the darned application in. It's not as if he blew a statute of limitations for a client, stole trust fund money, or disrupted a case through repeated disobedience of scheduling and discovery orders. To the extent that the Louisiana state bar had to get involved in a federal court matter, I would have thought that a short suspension from acting as a lawyer pro hac vice in Louisiana, purgeable upon proof that he'd cured the problem by filing the missing pro hac vice motion, would have fit the bill.
But no, the Louisiana Supreme Court is very hot and bothered about unauthorized practice of law, even when it's inadvertent.
We have consistently found the unauthorized practice of law to be very serious misconduct. * * * Our legislature has made it a felony to engage in such conduct.
Let's pause there. A felony, eh? Remember, we're not just talking about protecting innocent clients from crooks pretending to be lawyers. This is, at least in some part, anticompetitive turf protection for local lawyers.
Also, Louisiana apparently has a 3 strikes law. So, neglect to file one pro hac vice motion, subsequently get busted for shoplifting when you forget to pay for something (it happens, and it's fertile ground for extremely discriminatory enforcement), and then you're one angry conversation with a police officer who pulls you over for a nonsense violation away from spending the rest of your life in prison? Lunacy.
Back to this case. The Louisiana Supreme Court considered a lifetime bar from seeking admission in any Louisiana court, but settled on a 3 year suspension. One justice dissented; he thought Schwartz should be barred for life.
Now, there's obviously more going on here than neglecting to file a 2 page pro forma motion. There were also charges relating to the same case of "solicitation" (Eek, marketing!*) and providing improper financial assistance to a client. Interestingly, Texas had brought solicitation and improper financial assistance disciplinary charges based on the same case, and Schwartz had been cleared by a jury. The Louisiana court determined that it didn't need to address those additional charges, but their existence could have colored their views.
Also, Cortigene, his co-counsel, had his own problems. At some point in the process he had been suspended in Louisiana, for failure to submit trust fund statements, failure to pay a disciplinary assessment and bar dues, and failure to comply with continuing education requirements. Later, in connection with the same case at issue here, he was given a conditional 3 year suspension for failure to abide by a client's decision to accept a settlement offer (that's much more serious than the earlier stuff) and failure to communicate with his client (ditto). Finally, he was charged with aiding and abetting Schwartz's unauthorized practice of law, for which it was recommended that he be disbarred. Although it's clear from his rap sheet that Cortigene had issues and might not have deserved to be a member of the bar, disbarment for aiding and abetting co-counsel in neglecting to file a pro hac vice motion strikes me as deeply weird.
I trust TexasFilly when she says that Schwartz is a bad apple, and maybe it was right for Louisiana to go after him, but discipline is supposed to be based on the, you know, on the record, not on what the judges have heard about the respondent's other misbehavior.
* There's no indication whether the charge actually involved predatory behavior towards potential clients, or simply the long existing antipathy towards plaintiffs' lawyers among the corporate-minded legal establishment.)