A Blacksburg attorney who bullied other lawyers, failed to show up at hearings, refused to obey judges’ orders, charged thousands of dollars in legal fees after his license to practice law was suspended, failed to return such payments even after ordered by a judge to do so, finally lost his license to practice law permanently on Friday.
The Virginia State Bar revoked Jonathan P. Fisher’s license after a day-long hearing via video, citing his misuse of client’s money, failure to properly represent them, not showing up in court for clients who paid, swearing at Floyd County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Ryan Hupp and threatening to sue the office.
The hearing Friday was the last chance for Fisher, whose license was suspended for two months and reprimanded earlier this year
Earlier this year, the bar had suspended Fisher’s license for two months, then reprimanded him. The disciplinary measures came after allegations of problems with 10 of Fisher’s clients — bar investigators said that he missed hearings and some clients were convicted after he did not arrive to defend them, and that he failed to meet bookkeeping standards and to keep clients’ money in a separate account as attorneys are required to do.
The sanctions from the bar, which is an agency of the state Supreme Court, came after judges across western Virginia had cited Fisher more than a dozen times in recent years for contempt of court for not showing up for hearings. All of the citations were eventually dismissed. In 2019, he was fined $600 by a circuit court judge in Floyd County after swearing at a prosecutor and threatening to sue the commonwealth’s attorney’s office.–Mike Gangloff, The Roanoke Times
Former Circuit Judge Marc Long had several sharp exchanges with Fisher during heated appearances in Floyd County Circuit Court, including one where he told the constantly interrupting Fisher to “shut up!”
At one point, Judge Long threatened to jail Fisher and cited him for failure to properly inform the court or the clerk of motions and other actions. Commonwealth’s Attorney Eric Branscom said Fisher’s motions were improperly repaired and spouted obscenities when he didn’t get his way.
Fisher suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, brittle bone disease, and uses forearm crutches to help walk after suffering more than 50 broken bones over the years. Fisher claims he suffers “post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Fisher’s website, now in suspended “maintenance” mode, talked of successful defense of clients on DUI, reckless driving, and similar traffic-related charges.
Another Blacksburg lawyer, Chris Tuck, also a former Montgomery County supervisor, took over the defense of one Fisher client who said she did not know his license was suspended when she paid a $4,000 retainer for his services. After Fisher would not return the money, a judge ordered a refund, with interest, on April 8.
Gangloff reports that Kimberly Ann Brock of Christiansburg said Fisher still had not refunded any of her payment and she was glad that his right to practice law was revoked, adding that “I hope that he gets the help he needs now and that nobody else gets hurt.”
He often cited his medical problems as reasons for missed appointments, along with too many clients. His clients’ problem was solved Friday.