Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Practice In The Shadows Draws Revocation

A licensed legal consultant had his limited license revoked  by the New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department

Charge one alleges that the respondent exceeded the scope of his authority as a legal consultant by holding himself out as an attorney in the State of New York, in violation of section 521.3(f) of the Rules of the Court of Appeals (22 NYCRR) and rule 8.4(d) of the Rules of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0), as follows: On or about November 25, 2015, the respondent appeared at the New York City Office of Trials and Hearings in Matter of Taxi & Limousine Commn. v Doumbia (Index No. 80041335A). The respondent noted his appearance for his client, Daouda Doumbia, on the record, and confirmed on the record that he was an attorney. The respondent participated in the entire hearing, including the direct and redirect examinations of his client. The respondent failed to identify himself as a legal consultant.

Counts two and three alleged business card, letterhead  and trade name violations.

His response

While the respondent declined to testify at the hearing, he testified at his examination under oath during the Grievance Committee’s investigation that he did not view representing clients before an administrative agency as practicing law. At the hearing, the respondent contended that the term “legal consultant” does not exist in the legal profession throughout the entire world, and that the term “legal consultant” is not a professional title, unless used in conjunction with the title of attorney or lawyer. The respondent contended that in the absence of the word “attorney,” no one understands what a “legal consultant” is, and thus, he should be able to hold himself out as an attorney.

The referee sustained all charges

“Respondent is a legally educated Sudanese lawyer who sought (and was granted) court permission to practice as a ‘licensed legal consultant’ (L.L.C.). This status was sought only after repeatedly failing to pass the New York State Bar examination.

“As an L.L.C., he was obliged to limit his legal consulting practice, consistent with the Rules of the Court of Appeals. However, the available evidence suggests that Respondent viewed himself as imbued with ‘attorney’s status’ equal to lawyers who pass the bar examination, and are approved by the Committee on Character and Fitness.

“Respondent’s decision to practice in administrative tribunals was marred by representation calculated to indicate he was a duly admitted lawyer. His business card, and attendant paperwork, similarly created a carefully calculated ‘optic’ that those with whom he interacted were dealing with a New York licensed lawyer.

“That Respondent apparently did not comply with General Business Law Section 130, and utilized a de facto trade name, are powerful indicia of an attempt to operate a law practice in the proverbial ‘legal shadows.’”

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2018/09/a-licensed-legal-consultant-xxx-by-the-new-york-appellate-division-for-the-second-judicial-department-charge-one-alleges-tha.html

Bar Discipline & Process | Permalink

Comments

Great article

Posted by: Hammad | Apr 2, 2019 5:18:48 AM

Post a comment