Thursday, July 3, 2014
A public censure was imposed by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department on an attorney who allowed a foreign legal consultant to engage in unauthorized practice beyond the permissible limits of his license.
We find no merit to the respondent's contention that Mr. Vasquez did not hold himself out as an attorney or did not practice law because Mr. Vasquez was in Peru during the relevant time period. The evidence demonstrated that Mr. Vasquez never disclosed his status as a foreign legal consultant on the firm's website, retainer agreement, or business card/flyer. Hence, the respondent engaged in conduct that was deceptive and misleading to the public and clients. We note that Mr. Vasquez resigned as a legal consultant, and in submitting his resignation to this Court, Mr. Vasquez acknowledged that he exceeded his scope of practice as a legal consultant.
The court found mitigation
In determining the appropriate measure of discipline to impose, the respondent asks the Court to consider, in mitigation, the following factors: the lack of intent on his part to deceive, the lack of a prior disciplinary history, his due diligence inasmuch as he did research the rules governing legal consultants in an effort to comply with the rules, and his cooperation with the Grievance Committee's investigation. Additionally, he asks that the Court consider his contributions to the military as a member of the National Guard, the commendation he received upon being honorably discharged, his hard work, the award he received as a distinguished student from the American Bar Association, and his current provision of legal services to low-income Spanish speaking clients.