Local News

Missing Chapel Hill Attorney Disbarred for Violating Ethics

Posted March 30, 2007 6:40 a.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2007 5:30 p.m. EDT

— A North Carolina State Bar disciplinary hearing commission has disbarred a missing Chapel Hill attorney who they violated rules of professional conduct.

John McCormick, who has not been seen since July, is accused of taking more than $1 million belonging to his clients. He did not appear at Friday's hearing.

State Bar prosecutor Katherine Jean argued before the commission, stating that McCormick's actions were premeditated and that he brought the entire legal profession into disrepute.

In July, authorities found McCormick's car abandoned at the Orange County entrance to Duke Forest.

Investigators have since searched airline logs and checked McCormick's bank accounts and credit cards in efforts to locate him.His name and face are also in a national criminal database, but his whereabouts remain unknown.

During Friday's hearing, a witness said he heard rumors that McCormick might be in Central America or South America.

McCormick was also the attorney for Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools, a job he held for 20 years. The school board terminated his contract after he vanished. Authorities said there was not any money missing from the school system's accounts.

Last October, leaders from the Chapel-Hill Carrboro school board decided a Raleigh law firm would represent the district. The school system selected Tharrington Smith to replace McCormick.