December 7, 2007
An attorney admitted in Kansas in 1968 has never practiced there. Rather, he has lived and practiced law in California, where he took and failed the bar exam four times. Nonetheless, he has been in California for nearly 40 years, concentrating his practice primarily in federal matters relating to immigration and labor issues. He claimed that, at the outset, he sought legal advice concerning what he could and could not do in light of his non-admitted status.
A client company sued the attorney, claiming malpractice and fraud as a result of his failure to disclose that he was not admitted in California. The lawyer also had a number of criminal charges that included similar allegations of fraud by obtaining fees for legal services. These charges led to convictions for theft as well as a for a weapons offense.
The Kansas Supreme Court upheld findings of misconduct involving Rule 5.5 (practicing law in violation of the rules governing practice in California) and 8.4 (dishonesty). The court imposed an indefinite suspension. (Mike Frisch)
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