Jonathan Preston Fisher’s extensive history of run-ins with judges and other attorneys appeared to reach an end Friday as the Virginia State Bar revoked the Blacksburg lawyer’s license to practice.
The revocation came at the close of a disciplinary hearing conducted via video links that lasted most of the day and included testimony about Fisher’s problems with handling clients’ money, and the various ways that he had failed to represent them. A bar disciplinary panel decided to revoke Fisher’s license effective Friday, said John Isom, administrative clerk for the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board.
Fisher, 45, could not be immediately contacted for comment after the hearing.
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.
As his problems mounted, Fisher continued to attribute them to health problems and to having too many clients.
Fisher has osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bones disease. He walks with forearm crutches and has said he has had more than 50 broken bones. The repeated injuries left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, Fisher said in January.
Called to account by judges and the bar during the past two years, Fisher said repeatedly that he was paring down his caseload so that he could better keep up with his schedule. At the bar hearing in January, where his license was suspended for the months of February and March, Fisher said that he was finding relief in a new program of counseling and medication, and that record-keeping measures he adopted in 2019 let him better keep up with clients’ money.
But by April, clients were demanding refunds, saying Fisher had left them in the lurch when his license was suspended.
Chris Tuck, a Blacksburg lawyer who testified Friday about Fisher’s problems, said he was surprised to hear how many clients had been affected — including a man who paid $750 to Fisher, then was convicted of reckless driving when he ended up in court without an attorney because Fisher’s license was suspended at the time, Tuck said.
Tuck represented a Christiansburg woman who sued Fisher, saying he did not tell her that his license was suspended and would not return a $4,000 fee she paid him. On April 8, a judge ordered Fisher to pay $4,000 to his former client, plus interest.
That client, Kimberly Ann Brock of Christiansburg, was among those testifying about Fisher’s problems at Friday’s bar hearing. Afterward, Brock said that she had not seen any of her money yet, and that she was pleased that Fisher’s license had been revoked.
“I hate it that it happened to him,” Brock said. “But I hope that he gets the help he needs now, and that nobody else gets hurt.”