M. Markins

CHARLESTON – After a hiatus of two and a half years, a Charleston attorney suspended for computer hacking has been readmitted to the state Bar.

The state Supreme Court on Jan. 28 unanimously reinstated the law license of Michael P. Markins. In his two-page, pro-se petition filed June 25, Markins, 35, simply stated he "believes he should be reinstated to the practice of law" since he "has satisfied all requirements related to restitution, conditions or other acts incident to his suspension."

The Court on May 23, 2008, ordered Markins suspended for two years following an investigation by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel he improperly accessed the e-mail server of a rival law firm, Offutt Nord, where his wife Angela worked. In November 2003, while working for Huddleston Bolen, Markins hacked in Offutt Nord's server, and began reading Anglea's e-mails looking for evidence of a suspected affair.

He later started reading the e-mails of other Offutt Nord attorneys. Though he never accessed information regarding clients, both ODC's, and an internal investigation conducted by Offutt Nord found that Markins did access confidential financial information.

It was not until March 2006 that Markins' hacking was discovered. Not knowing he was the hacker, Angela confided to Michael the office was abuzz about the breach.

That evening, Michael confessed to Angela what he did, and why he did it. Ironically, the next day, Offutt Nord management told Angela their investigation discovered Michael accessed the server.

Initially, she denied knowing that when asked. When it was later discovered she lied, Angela was fired from the firm.

Shortly thereafter, Michael was fired from Huddleston Bolen.

Because he cooperated fully with ODC's and Offutt Nord's investigations, and expressed remorse for what he did, the Lawyer Disciplinary Board asked the Court to suspend Markins for two years. Also, it asked that as a condition of reinstatement he take an additional 12 hours of continuing legal education, and have his practice supervised for a year.

The address on his petition lists the law offices of John Fowler at the United Center in Charleston where Markins worked after his termination from Huddleston Bolan, and prior to his suspension.

West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals case number 35666

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