Robert M.A. Nadeau is seeking reinstatement of his license to practice law in Maine following a two-year suspension. The Board of Bar Overseers is opposed and has scheduled a hearing for Feb. 3. Courtesy Photo

BIDDEFORD — The Board of Overseers of the Bar is opposing the reinstatement of attorney Robert M.A. Nadeau and a hearing on the matter has been set for Feb. 3.

Nadeau, whose license to practice law in Maine was suspended on Oct 1, 2017, in connection with findings by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court that he had violated judicial canons during his time as York County Judge of Probate, applied for reinstatement in the fall of 2019.

According to the hearing notice, to be reinstated, Nadeau has the burden of presenting “clear and convincing evidence demonstrating his moral qualifications, competency, and learning in law required for admission to practice law in the State of Maine.”

In June 2016, the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court found that Nadeau violated judicial canons when he directed probate court staff not to make court appointments to seven attorneys; he removed a previously appointed attorney from pending cases; he issued orders urging litigants appearing before him to lobby for increased court time; and personally solicited  campaign contributions for his 2016 election campaign.

In his four-page petition to the board, Nadeau of Biddeford, said he had fully complied with the criteria for reinstatement.

He said he has fully met the terms and conditions of all prior disciplinary orders issued; has not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law during his suspension; has never suffered from any physical or mental disability or infirmity, and has fully acknowledged the wrongfulness and seriousness of the misconduct for which he was suspended. He said he had not engaged in any other professional misconduct since the time of his suspension.

“I respectfully believe and I am confident that, notwithstanding the conduct for which I was disciplined by this court, I possess the requisite honesty and integrity to practice law, as continues to be demonstrated by my authorization to practice law in New Hampshire and the levels of respect and confidence in me the jurists of that state have displayed regarding me,” Nadeau wrote in his petition for reinstatement.

A letter to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from the Board of Overseers of the Bar stated only that the board opposed the reinstatement.

In their 34-page order imposing the suspension, the justices of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court pointed out that it was the fourth time that Nadeau had appeared before them for ethical violations, and the third time for conduct that occurred while serving in a judicial capacity.

At the time, Nadeau had asked for a reconsideration, and tendered an apology, but his request was denied, and his suspension went into effect on Oct. 1, 2017.

He served several terms as York County Judge of Probate. He was first elected in 1996. He lost the 2008 election but was returned to the bench in 2012. He lost in a three-way race to Sanford Attorney Bryan Chabot in November 2016. The current York County Judge of Probate is Scott Houde.

Following the Feb. 3 hearing, set for 8:30 a.m. at the Capital Judicial Center in Augusta, the Board of Overseers of the Bar will make a recommendation to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which will render a decision.

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