Tax cheat and Indian-puncher Kenneth Orrock wants to be a lawyer again. In his bid for readmission to the South Dakota bar, heard yesterday by the state Supreme Court, Orrock enlisted well-connected lawyer Jom Sword to speak to his character and growth:
Longtime Fall River County attorney Jim Sword backed Orrock during the hearing, testifying to the quality of his work as an assistant and his growth as a person since the 2017 case commenced.
He’s an active member of his church and works with veterans, for example, in spite of being ostracized by many of his fellow veterans and attorneys after his felony crimes came to light.
“This is a story of resilience,” said Sword, who has agreed to act as Orrock’s supervisory lawyer, should the Supreme Court agree to the disciplinary board’s terms [John Hult, “Former Lawyer with Felony Conviction Asks Supreme Court for Reinstatement,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.08.30].
The state bar disciplinary board has recommended letting Orrock practice criminal law if he can pass the bar exam again. Orrock says the shortage of lawyers is a good reason to let him back into the bar:
His ability to act as a court-appointed attorney, however, could help relieve the burden caused in the Rapid City area by a dearth of criminal lawyers.
“Many of the court appointed attorneys that I’ve been able to speak to in the last several months have just been overwhelmed,” Orrock said. “As a matter of fact, one told me last week he’s stopping to take them because he can’t do it any more” [Hult, 2023.08.30].
The Supreme Court will decide whether to let Orrock resume limited lawyerly work later this year. But Orrock’s pitch to fill the gap in Rapid City shows the danger our workforce shortage creates of lowering our standards and letting individuals of dubious character make money doing important work.