Robert P. Guido is “Of Counsel” to the firm of Russo Karl Widmaier & Cordano, practicing under Robert P. Guido PLLC. His practice focuses primarily on representing lawyers who are the subject of attorney disciplinary investigations or proceedings, and suspended or disbarred lawyers seeking reinstatement to practice. His services also extend to applicants seeking admission to practice law who require assistance or formal representation during the admission process, and to members of the bar seeking guidance on matters of professional ethics.
Mr. Guido’s legal expertise in the areas of attorney discipline, admissions, and professional ethics developed during his 37-year career in public service with the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, one of the largest and busiest attorney disciplinary jurisdictions in the United States. His service began 1981 as an Assistant Counsel to the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District, investigating and prosecuting allegations of professional misconduct filed against attorneys from Nassau and Suffolk Counties. He subsequently rose through the ranks, becoming the Deputy Chief Counsel in 1999, and ultimately the Committee’s Chief Counsel in 2001 upon the recommendation of then-Presiding Justice Lawrence J. Bracken. During his tenure with the Grievance Committee, Mr. Guido handled or supervised over 10,000 grievance investigations and personally conducted more than 100 formal disciplinary hearings, including the noted case of Matter of Cooperman (83 NY2d 465) which he successfully argued before the Court of Appeals (banning non-refundable fee agreements).
In 2005, Mr. Guido was appointed as the Second Department’s first Special Counsel for Grievance matters, charged with an array of department-wide responsibilities related to the Court’s attorney disciplinary and admission systems. In announcing this newly created position, then-Presiding Justice A. Gail Prudenti observed, “Bob Guido is uniquely qualified for this position with his extensive background in grievance committee matters and his career-long interest in educating members of the bar regarding ethics, professionalism and grievance issues.” Under Mr. Guido’s leadership, the office of Special Counsel facilitated the development and implementation of several noteworthy initiatives, among them the first department-wide unification of all policies, procedures, and forms governing the Court’s three separate grievance committees, and the creation of a new, mandatory “Orientation to the Profession” program for applicants for admission, designed to offer important guidance on real-world ethical pitfalls facing newly admitted attorneys.
In 2015, Mr. Guido was appointed as the Second Department’s first Executive Director of Attorney Matters, combining the position of Executive Director and Counsel to the Court’s Committees on Character & Fitness with his on-going duties as Special Counsel for Grievance Matters. At Character & Fitness, he was the chief legal officer and advisor to the Character Committees, responsible for screening and processing applications for admission to practice law (2000-3000 annually), administering hearings and meetings of the Committee and its Subcommittees, and facilitating hearings on applications for reinstatement referred by the Court.
During his career with the Appellate Division, Mr. Guido served by appointment of the Chief Judge of the State of New York as a member of the Commission on Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Legal Profession (1999), the New York State Lawyer's Assistance Trust (2006-2011), and the New York State Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline (2015-2016). By designation of the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Division, he served as a member of the Statewide Advisory Committee on Bar Admissions, the Second Department Committee on Admission, Discipline, and Reinstatement of Attorneys, and on the Administrative Board subcommittees charged with drafting new rules governing attorney advertising (2003-2005), the new Rules of Professional Conduct (2008-2009), and the Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (2015-2016). He is a Life Member of the New York Bar Foundation, and has received awards for his service to the New York State, Nassau County, and Suffolk County Bar Associations, where he held various committee and task force positions over the course of three decades. Mr. Guido is a frequent CLE lecturer on lawyer regulatory matters, having participated in over 250 presentations nationwide.