Monday, February 11, 2019

Travelin' Man

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals agreed with its Board of Bar Examiners to decline admission without examination to an applicant 

The petitioner is a graduate of the Cumberland School of Law of Samford University. In November of 1988, the petitioner was admitted to the practice of law by successful bar examination in the State of Texas. In April of 1990, the petitioner was admitted to the practice of law by successful bar examination in the State of Florida. The petitioner’s law practice in both Texas and Florida was primarily focused on various types of litigation. The petitioner’s Texas law license was suspended as a result of nonpayment of bar dues on September 1, 2001.

On April 26, 2002, the Supreme Court of Florida entered an emergency suspension of the petitioner’s license to practice law following an allegation that the petitioner misappropriated client funds while serving as an escrow agent. Following the emergency suspension, a formal disciplinary complaint was filed against the petitioner. The Supreme Court of Florida then suspended the petitioner’s license to practice law for three years, to be followed by a three-year probationary period. Following his suspension, the petitioner did not apply for reinstatement of his Florida law license.

While suspended from the practice of law in Florida, the petitioner was admitted to the practice of law by successful bar examination in the State of Tennessee in October of 2010. Following his admission to the Tennessee Bar, the petitioner again primarily focused his law practice on various types of litigation.

He applied for West Virginia admission in 2017.

The Board reviewed the hearing examiner’s report, together with the transcript of the hearing, the briefs filed by both parties, and the petitioner’s application file. The Board voted to deny the petitioner’s application for admission without examination based upon his failure to satisfy the provisions of Rule 4.2(a). He could not produce a certificate of good standing from each state in which he has been admitted to the practice of law as required by Rule 4.2(a).

The applicant had argued that he was eligible as he was in good standing in Tennessee, the only place where he is in active practice

The court interpreted the rule otherwise

our focus turns to whether the Board correctly concluded that the petitioner failed to satisfy the provisions of Rule 4.2(a). We conclude that it did. By failing to be able to provide a certificate of good standing from two of the three jurisdictions in which the petitioner has been previously admitted to the practice of law, the petitioner has failed to satisfy the requirements for admission without examination to the practice of law set forth in Rule 4.2(a). In order to be admitted to the practice of law in West Virginia, an applicant must satisfy the requirements set forth in Rule 4.2(a). Because the petitioner has failed to submit certificates of good standing from each jurisdiction in which he was previously admitted, he is ineligible for admission without examination to the practice of law in West Virginia. Id.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2019/02/the-west-virginia-supreme-court-of-appeals-agreed-with-its-board-to-decline-admission-without-examination-of-an-applicant-th.html

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