DOCKET NO. 10-011-087
On December 8. 2008. Respondent. Bryan M. While ("'Mr. White"), pursuant to Order of
Louisiana Supreme Court, was disbarred retroactive to his June 24, 2003 interim suspension
arising out of Mr. White's guihy plea to misprision of a ICiony pursuant to 18 U,S,c. § 4. In
accordance with La. Sup. Ct. Rule XIX § 24A, Mr. White petitions for readmission to the
Louisiana Bar.
The Charges
The procedural history of this matter was set forth by the Louisiana Supreme Court in In
Re.· B'J'all WlJire. 2008-13-1390 (La. 12/2/08).996 So.2d 266. In 2001 and 2002, AI Copeland
("Mr. Copeland,,)1 was involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife, Luan Hunter ("Ms.
HUllter"). The domestic proceeding was before Judge Ronald Bodenheimer of the 24
District Coun for the Parish of Jefferson? Mr. Copcland was represented by Roben Lowe. On
occasion, Mr. White acted as the personal representative of Mr. Copeland in this proceeding. and
I AI Copeland died on March 23, 2008.
1 The matters bl.'fore Judge Uodenhcimcr related to minor issues such as child visitation mancrs relating 10 holiday
visitation arnlllgemelllS and selling schedules for the time of day for exchange of the child. Significant ly, the
visitation schedule had been stipulated to by the panics and that schedule remained throughout at all times material
long after Bodenheimer was removed from the bench. Custody and financial issues had been sell led and wcre not
before Judge Bodenheimer.
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Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board
Docket# Filed-On
Donna Burgess
10-DB-087 8/19/2011
at times. Mr. White engaged in communications \\;th Judge Bodenheimer which were initiated
by Judge Bodenheimer.

" Judge Bodenheimer (and others) were targets of an investigation by federal law
enforcement officers unrelated to the Copeland domestic proceeding, and on June 5, 2002, Mr.
White was interviewed by the FBI. However. he provided inl'onnation and documents to the
FBI, but he failed to fully disclose to the FnI the full extent of his knowledge of Judge
Bodenheimer's conduct specifically that Judge Bodenheimer was trying to shake down the
Copelands' Companies. In February 2003. Mr. White was indicted in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. and less than a week later on Febnlary 13.2003. Mr.
White accepted responsibility and pled guilty to one count of misprision of a felony, the crime of
concealing knowledge of a felony by one who has not participated or assisted in it. Mr. White
self.reported his conduct to the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") immediately
prior to his guilty plea.
On June 24. 2003. the Louisiana Supreme Court placed Mr. White on interim suspension
based on his conviction. In He: While. 03-1425 (La. 6124/03), 852 So.2d 976. On June 3. 2004,
the ODC filed two counts of formal charges against Mr. White, alleging that his conduct violated
the following Rules or Professional Conducl:
, Rules 3.5(a) (a lawyer shall not seck to influence ajudgc by means prohibited by law);
, Rule 3.5(b) (prohibited ex parte communications):
;. Rule 3.5(c) (a lawyer shall not engage in :onduct intended to disrupt a tribunal):
,. Rule 8.4(a) (violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct);
~ Rule 8.4(b) (commission of a criminal act reflecting adversely on the lawyer's honesty,
trust'>vorthiness, or fitness as a lawyer):
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,. Rule 8.4(c) (engaging m conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit. or
• •
,. Rule 8.4(d) (engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration ofjustice): and
>- Rule 8.4(f) (knowingly assisting a judge in conduct that is a violation of applicable Rules
of Judicial Conduct or other law).
Mr. White answered the fonnal charges and admined his conviction. Mr. While also
admitted that he knew of. but did not timely report 10 the appropriate authorities, the conspiracy
by Judge Bodenheimer and others to violale Ms. Hunter's civil rights. However, pursuant to Ihe
Rules of Professional Conduct in elrect al that !ime, Mr. White was obligated to keep thai
informal ion confidential.
Mr. White further admitted that he engaged in several ex parle communications with
Judge Bodenheimer, and that these communicalions were improper. However. Mr. White and
the ODe acknowledged lhal he did nul illitiate the communications, which he asserted "were
prompted by repeated requests and calls from Bodenheimer" and Philip Demma ("'Mr. Demma").
a mutual acquaintance of Mr. Copeland and Judge Bodenheimer. Mr. While described his
involvement with Judge Bodenheimer as "reluctant" and "reactive," rather than "proactive," and
..then only to prevent haml to his c1ient"s case rather than to influence the OUlcome affimlativcly
and nefariously:' Also. Mr. White refused to funher cooperate with Judge Bodenheimer and
communicated to Mr. Demma the he would not provide Judge Bodenheimer what he wanted thus
thwarting Judge Bodenheimer's plans. In addition, the DOC acknowledged that Mr. 'White's
conduct was passive and not affinnati\'e. Mr. White abo denied that his conduct actually
corrupted or prejudiced the Copeland domestic case, because nonc of Judge Bodenheimer's
rulings were substantively or procedurally improper. and none were reversed on the merits. In
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fact. Ms. Hunter, the only individual identified by the United States Attorney's office as a victim
of Mr. White's actions. fully supports Mr. White's re-admission.
According to Mr. White. his purpose in communicating with Judge Bodenheimer was
merely to prevent hann to his client's case by responding to persistent calls from a thcn-
respected judge acting both as LIn infonnal, quasi-judicial mediator and as a judicial arbiter of a
family-law dispute:' Significantly, during the course of the Copeland domestic proceeding,
Judge Bodenheimer had substantive ex f)(lrIe communications with lawyers representing Ms.
Hunter on more than one occasion.
After receipt of testimony. evidence and consideration of mitigating circumstances, the
Hearing Committee recommended that Mr. White be suspended from the practice of law for
thirty-six months retroactive to June 24. 2003. the date of his interim suspension. Neither Mr.
White nor the DOC filed an objection to the Hearing Committee's recommendation.
The Disciplinary Board rccomml:lIl.kt..l thdt Mr. White be permanently disbarred, and Mr.
White filed an objection to the Disciplinary Board-s recommendation. The DOC recommended
to the Louisiana Supreme Court that Mr. White be suspended for three years lor his actions and
inactions. After consideration of evidence and oral arguments. the Louisiana Supreme Court on
December 2. 2008 ordered th,H Mr. White be disbarred retroaclive to his June 24, 2003 inlerim
suspension. III Re: Bryall While, 2008·B·1390 (Ln. 12/2/08). 996 So.2d 266.
On Tovember 24. 2010. Mr. White filed a Petition for Readmission. The Office of
Disciplinary Counsel answered the Petition. and a hearing was set for April 26. 2011.
At the hearing. the committee heard from a number of independent and impressive
witnesses who teslified in l:I number of different areas that are prerequisites 10 the readmission to
the practice ofla\\'.
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Phil Whitman ('"Mr. Whilman·'). a practitioner of fifty years testified that he has observcd
Mr. White's conduct since his original disbamlcnl and affinnatively stated no efforts have been
made by Mr. White to violate Section 24E(2) of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Louisiana,
which prohibits the unauthorized practice of law. In particular, according to Mr. Whitman,
because Mr. White studiously adhered to the prohibition to practice law, extra functions were
increased for Mr. Whitman and his fiml. Stone Pigman at extra expense to Mr. Whitc's
companies. Mr. Whitman was vcry persuasive and credible in his overall asscrtions Ihat Mr.
White was more than fit 10 reentcr the practice of law.
1I0weil Crosby ("Mr. Crosby"). a partner at Chaffe McCall Law Finn, teslificd next on
behalf of Mr. Whitc. Mr. Crosby is a practitioner with twcnly-six years experience and has
known Mr. White for fifteen years. Consistcnt with Mr. Whitman's testimony, Mr. Crosby
testificd that Mr. White \.vcnt out of his way to avoid work on behalf of his company that could
be construed as legal work. In pi1ftil:ulal. there was a substantial amount of lease work for Mr.
\\'hite's companies that would have been typically been done in house. This work is often done
by non-lawyers. Mr. White made the cxtra effort to avoid evcn thc appearance that he was
practicing law by referring this work to Mr. Crosby's firm. Mr. Crosby further testified that Mr.
Whitc expressed extreme remorse at the cntire incident giving rise to his original disbanl1cnt.
Craig TafTaro ("Mr. Tafraro"). Chief Deputy for Jeflcrson Parish Sheriffs Office.
testified next on behalf of Me. White. Mr. TafTaro testified that he judges people on character
rather lhan on their record or any particular infractions that they may have been involved in. He
testified LhaL in his managcment role in the Shcrifrs department, he is called upon to make
character detcrminations on a daily ba'iis. It is his judgment that Mr. Whitc's character is of the
highest ordcr.
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Next to tcstify was Wiley McConnick ('·Mr. McCormick'"). a security consultant and a
retired Deputy Secretary the Louisiana Dcpartn:cnt of Public Safety and the Superintendent for
the Louisiana State Police. Mr. McCormick stated that he has known Mr. White for a number of
years and that he has never testified on behalf of someone, having always testified against
individuals during his years of law enforcement and thereafter as a consuhant. He stated that in
his judgment and based upon his long relationship \\ith Mr. White, he believed that Mr. White
had shown remorse and that he is capable of being a credit to the legal profession.
Richard Chapman (··Mr. Cbapman"), President and CEO of Diversified Foods, teslilicd
that he bas been Mr. White's supervisor since 2000. He interacts with Mr. Whitc on an almost
daily basis. Immediately upon the original disbannent taking place, Mr. \Vhitc put Mr. Chapman
on notice that he could not perform any services that could even be marginally construed as legal
services. As a result of being so advised, Mr. Chapman now works directly with outside counsel
and does not go through Mr. Whitt:. 'nlis was further suppon for the proposition that Mr, White
did not violate Section 24E(2).
Len Brignac ("Mr. Brignac'"). an attorney with Chane McCall, and personal friend of Mr.
White testified as to his character. Mr. Brignac was excellent witness and brought to the
attention of the committee that Mr. White was a diligent student of ethics. He went on to say
that Mr. White went Ihrough the trouble and expense to hire legal prolcssionals to advise him as
to precisely how to comply with the order of disbarment. Mr. Brignac was a compassionate and
persuasive witness on the issue ofMr. White's suitability to reenter the practice of law
Orlcans Parish Sheriff. Marlon Gusman ( " ~ \ ' I r . Gusman"), tcstified on behalf of Mr.
White's character. Mr. Gusman \';enl on to say that he did not takc on the task of appearing to
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testify lightly but that based all what he has observed in his relationship with Mr. White felt
compelled to anest to 'what he believed 'was Mr. White's fitness to practice law.
Finally. Mr. White himself. testified about what toll this terrible chapter in his life has
taken on him personally as well as with his family. He testified that he understood how wrong
his conduct was and is extremely remorseful for his actions. He stated that he has dedicated his
life to making a difference in the community. a statement that was corroborated by prior witness
testimony. He further testified that he wanted to use his license for the benefit of otbe-rs. In
addition. he testified that he hired t\....o top legal ethics professionals. Rick Stanley and Dane
Cioliono, to advise him regarding proper conduct after disbannent. Mr. White testified that he
has fully complied \·..ith the terms and conditions of all prior disciplinary orders and that.
consistent with thc testimony of prior \\itnesses. has not engaged nor attempted to engage in the
authorized practice of law during the period of his interim suspension and disbarment Mr.
Whilt.: wt.:l1( Ull tu ~ a ) ' that at the time of the incident he was not suffering from a physical or
mcntal disability nor was alcohol or other drug abuse a cause or a factor in thc misconduct. He
averred that he has never suffered from a physical or mental disability or infinnity. Mr. White
stated that he is not engaged in any other professional misconduct, nor has he been professionally
disciplined either before or after his interim suspension. Finally, Mr. White testified that he has
kept infonncd about recent developmenls in the law.
I\s a witness, Mr. White came across as sincere and carnest in his remorse as well as his
request to be allO\ved to prove that he could conduct himself in accordance with the highest
standards followed in our profession.
Finally. although there was other evidence submittcd. thc committee perhaps was
strongly influenced by correspondence from Ms. Hunter who was most adversely affected by
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Judge Bodenheimcr's misconduct and :vtr. Whilc's related actions. Despite that fact and lhat Ms.
Hunter had every reason to harbor ill will to\\ ard Mr. White, she took the time to write Iwo
letters supponing his application for reinstatement to practice law.
Based un the foregoing as well as other evidence submitted at the hearing, the Committee
found that:
I. Pursuant to Sect. 24E(l) of Rule XIX orthe Rules of the Supreme Court of
Louisiana, petitioner has complied with alltcrms and conditions of all prior disciplinary orders.
2. Pursuant to Sec. 24E(2) of the Rules of the Supreme Coun of Louisiana,
petitioner has not engaged nor attempted to engage in the practice of law during the period of his
3. Pursuanllo Sect. 24E(3) ufRuh:: XIX of the Rules of the: Louisiana Supreme
Court. petitioner was not sum'ring under a phy5ical or mental disability or infinnity at the rime
of his suspension.
4. Pursuant to Sec!. 24E(4) of Rule XIX of the Rules of the Louisiana Supreme
Court, petitioner recognizes the wrongfulness and seriousness or the misconduct for which
petitioner was suspended.
5. Pursuant to eel. 24E(5) ofRulc XIX of the Rules of the Supreme Court of
Louisiana. petitioner has not engaged in any other professional misconduct since suspension or
6. Pursuant 10 Sect. 24E(6) of Rule XIX of the Rules of the Supreme Court of
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Louisiana. petitioner believes that, notwithstanding the conduct for which petitioner was
disciplined, petitioner ha.s the requisite honesty and integrity to practice law.
7. Pursuant to Sect. 24E(7) of Rule XIX Oflhc Rules of the Supreme Court of
Louisiana. petitioner has kept informed concerning recent developments in the law, is competent
to practice. and has satisfied the MCLE requirements for the year of reinstatement.
8. Pursuant to Sect. 24E(8) of Rule XIX of the Rules of the Supreme Coun of
Louisiana. petitioner owes no dues or diseiplinarf fees to the Louisiana State Bar Association.
9. Pursuant to Sect. 24E(9) of Rule XIX of the Rules of the Supreme Court of
Louisiana. petitioner has paid to the Louisiana Supreme Coun the appropriate fees.
10. Pursuant to Sect. 24E(10) of Rule XIX of the Rules of the Supreme Court of
Louisiana, petitioner has paid the Disciplinary Board all currently owed disciplinary
administlJ.tive and enforcement fees required by Sect. 8A of Rule XJX of the Rules of the
Supreme Coun of Loubialla. \\ell as the registration statement required under Sect. 8C of said
II. Pursuant to Sect. 24E( II) of Rule XIX of the Rules of the Supreme Court of
Louisiana, petitioner shall obtain a certification from the Client Assistance Fund lhat no
payments have been made by the Fund to any of the lawyer's clients.
12. Legal notice was timely published cO:1cerning pclitioncr"s Petition for Reinstatement.
Therefore, it is the Conunittcc's opinion that there is clear and convincing evidence that
Bryan M. has complied with the prerequisites be readmitted to the practice of law and that
the recommends that he be readmitted in accordance with this Committee's findings
and ils opinion.
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New Orleans, Louisiana, this 19th day of AugusI, 2011
By: --If!!: (".4''-,--:;-------,-------:=:-:--
J -Ialpem, Committee Chair
Crow Wnters, Lawyer Member
Roy R. Richardson, Public Member