State Bar of California California Bar Journal
Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California October2005
Top Headlines
Opinion
MCLE Self-Study
Interim Suspension, Resignations, Public Reprovals and Charges Pending
Ethics Byte
Feature
You Need to Know
Trials Digest
Contact CBJ
PastIssues

Caution! Almost 180,000 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names. All discipline reports are taken from State Bar Court documents and should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Read the Discipline Key for an explanation of the different levels of disciplinary action. Use Attorney Search to check an attorney's official bar membership record.

DISBARMENTS

SUSPENSION/PROBATION

DISBARMENTS

RICHARD STEVENS [#97167], 50, of New York City was disbarred May 27, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

Stevens was disbarred in New York in 2002 for intentional misappropriation and was ordered to make restitution of $115,000. The State Bar Court determined in a default proceeding that Stevens’ misconduct in New York warranted discipline in California.

The misconduct stemmed from Stevens’ representation of a client who appealed an adverse civil judgment. She paid him $92,000 in legal fees but there was no written retainer agreement and Stevens did not provide written bills.

The client also gave him $115,000 as collateral for an appeal bond to be paid in the event she lost the appeal. Over the course of a year, Stevens depleted the client’s funds from the escrow account.

The client lost the appeal and was ordered to pay $95,000 in attorneys’ fees plus interest and costs. The bonding company sought recovery from Stevens, who explained he had taken the $115,000 as his legal fee and advised the company to seek recovery from his client. She ultimately had to repay the bonding company.

A special referee in New York found that Stevens withdrew the client’s funds surreptitiously and without authority, falsely claimed he had the client’s consent to remove funds and enriched himself at his client’s expense. The referee found he violated seven ethics rules.

The California State Bar Court found that Stevens’ misconduct would have violated four rules in this state: maintaining client funds in trust, commingling, misappropriation and misrepresentation. The last two constitute moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Stevens practiced for 16 years without any discipline.


RONALD WILLIAM FITZGERALD [#80041], 55, of Diamond Bar was disbarred June 11, 2005, and was ordered to comply with rule 955.

Fitzgerald did not comply with rule 955, as required by a 2004 disciplinary order, by failing to submit to the Supreme Court an affidavit stating that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and all pertinent parties of his suspension from practice. Failure to comply with rule 955 is grounds for disbarment.

The underlying discipline was imposed because Fitzgerald practiced law while suspended for nonpayment of bar dues. He also committed an act of moral turpitude, disobeyed a court order and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation or keep his address up-do-date in bar records.

He did not participate in the disbarment proceedings and his default was entered.


SUSPENSION/PROBATION

ROBERT JOSEPH LUDWIG [#64347], 74, of Hesperia was suspended for five years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual three-year suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, make restitution to 11 clients, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 14, 2005.

Ludwig stipulated to 36 counts of misconduct in 12 cases.

In 1999, Ludwig, who had an office in Los Angeles, opened a personal injury law firm in Orange County with a non-lawyer who handled the business end of the operation. The non-lawyer processed and settled all cases that did not involve litigation, took 85 percent of the fees from each settlement and gave the remainder to Ludwig. There were no attorneys in the Orange County office and Ludwig visited only intermittently. He authorized the non-lawyer to handle the client trust account, solicit and interview clients, arrange for their medical treatment, negotiate settlements and fees and disburse money. Ludwig did not meet any clients from the Orange County office.

He stipulated that he formed an improper partnership with a non-lawyer, employed someone who improperly solicited business and aided in the unauthorized practice of law.

The client cases involved, for the most part, failure to do the work, keep clients informed, communicate with clients, notify clients of receipt of funds or deposit client funds in a trust account. Ludwig also withdrew from cases without protecting his clients’ interests and allowed clients’ signatures to be forged on settlement checks, acts of moral turpitude.

In one case, for example, a couple hired Ludwig through the Orange County office to handle their personal injury claim arising from an auto accident. The clients were falsely informed that a lawsuit was filed on their behalf. In fact, the case was settled without their consent, and Ludwig and/or the office manager received two checks that were deposited into Ludwig’s client trust account with the clients’ forged signatures. No further action was taken and the statute of limitations expired. The clients never received any settlement funds.

In mitigation, Ludwig had no record of discipline since his 1975 admission to the bar.


WENDY ANN McGHEE [#97028], 51, of Chula Vista was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to prove her rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 28, 2005.

McGhee stipulated to four counts of misconduct in two cases.

A client hired McGhee to change her son’s name and, although McGhee filed the petition, she did not complete service on the son’s father. She sent a second petition to her client and the father for their signatures, but the father did not return it. Without confirming that the petition had been filed with the court, McGhee told her client the name change had been completed.

Eight months later, the client asked about the status of her case, and McGhee promised to send her the final documents, knowing the name change had not been completed.

She stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently or respond to client inquiries, and she committed an act of moral turpitude by misrepresenting the status of the case.

In a divorce case, she stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently — she did not promptly file proper documentation or provide discovery responses, failed to oppose a motion to compel discovery and did not respond to two letters from opposing counsel. Her client was sanctioned and paid $1,195 as a result of McGhee’s delays.

In mitigation, McGhee has decreased her caseload and has been sober for more than five years.

She also was disciplined in 2000 for failing to perform legal services competently or refund unearned fees and she withdrew from employment without protecting her client’s interests.


NUJYA STRAWDER [#112402], 47, of Anaheim was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on five years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and was ordered to prove her rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect May 28, 2005.

Strawder stipulated that she failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a discipline originally imposed in 1998. The probation was revoked and a new probation was imposed, including requirements that she make restitution to an estate. She missed nine payments.

The underlying discipline was imposed for charging an unconscionable fee, failing to pay court-ordered sanctions, perform legal services competently, deposit client funds in a trust account or communicate with a client, and for committing an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, Strawder has serious financial problems. She has not had steady employment since 1999 and she supports herself and three children.


JAY DENTON WHEATLEY [#80822], 60, of Boca Raton, Fla. was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual one-year suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. Credit will be given for a period of interim suspension that began Feb. 27, 2004. The order took effect May 28, 2005.

Wheatley was convicted in Florida in 2003 of distribution and possession with intent to distribute human growth hormone, a felony. He stipulated that his misconduct warrants discipline.

In mitigation, he has no prior record of discipline.


ANN LONERGAN SMITH [#94331], 77, of Van Nuys was suspended for six months, stayed, and placed on one year of probation with an actual 45-day suspension. The order took effect May 28, 2005.

Smith stipulated that she repeatedly issued checks against insufficient funds in her client trust account to pay personal and business expenses.

By commingling funds, she also failed to comply with probation conditions attached to two disciplinary orders, namely that she comply with the rules of professional conduct.

In another matter, she did not respond to a State Bar investigator’s questions about the way she handled a child support collection matter. Smith twice told the client she would try to get his matter on the court’s calendar and later said a new law would help resolve his problem. He never heard whether Smith was able to calendar the case.

Smith was disciplined in 2003 and 2002 for misusing her client trust account and commingling, and for failing to perform legal services competently or pay court-ordered sanctions.

In mitigation, she had health problems, and her brother, who came to live with Smith after her husband died, also passed away. She has developed an accounting system to manage her client trust account.


KAREN EDNA DUNCAN [#160472], 53, of Redmond, Ore. was suspended for 30 days, effective May 28, 2005.

Duncan was disciplined in Oregon for the unauthorized practice of law by her law partner before he was admitted to the bar, and for making misleading statements about the partner’s qualifications for practice.

She did not report the Oregon discipline to the California bar as required, and her misconduct there violated California’s Business & Professions Code.

In mitigation, she cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


MATTHEW JEREMY COHEN [#199410], 31, of San Francisco Probation was revoked, the stay of suspension was lifted and he was actually suspended for two years and until he proves his rehabilitation. Credit was given for a period of involuntary inactive enrollment that began Jan. 14, 2005. The order took effect June 11, 2005.

Cohen failed to comply with probation conditions attached to a 2003 disciplinary order — he did not submit two quarterly probation reports.

The underlying discipline was the result of Cohen’s 18-month suspension before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a result of misconduct in another jurisdiction. The misconduct involved neglecting at least one legal matter, failing to properly maintain client property and keep complete records, sharing fees with a non-lawyer, accepting compensation from someone other than the client and making a misrepresentation.


JANET ANN GALENO [#114814], 54, of Foster City was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to make restitution and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 11, 2005.

Galeno stipulated that she committed five acts of misconduct while suspended from the bar in 2001 and 2002 for failing to comply with MCLE requirements or pay bar dues.

She held herself out as entitled to practice law when she was not, she practiced while suspended, collected an illegal fee, committed an act of moral turpitude by not informing the client that she was ineligible to practice, and she failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

In mitigation, Galeno has no prior record of discipline.


STEVEN F. McNICHOLS [#151934], 66, of San Francisco Probation was revoked, the previous stay of suspension was lifted and he was actually suspended for 30 days and until he proves his rehabilitation and takes the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 11, 2005.

McNichols violated the terms of a 2001 probation by failing to submit several quarterly reports or written medical reports.

The underlying discipline was imposed after McNichols stipulated to misconduct in two cases. In 1994 he failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information made by a client, and in 1999 he agreed to refund a $5,000 fee but was financially unable to do so.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


ROBERT JAMES LAFRANCHI [#57553], 68, of Los Altos Probation was revoked, the stay of suspension was lifted and he was actually suspended for one year and was ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 11, 2005.

Lafranchi did not comply with the terms of a 2003 probation: he did not submit five quarterly probation reports, proof of attendance at ethics school or proof of restitution, and he did not report a change in his phone number to the bar.

The underlying discipline was imposed for Lafranchi’s failure to comply with the conditions of a private reproval imposed in 2001 for misconduct involving two clients — he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees or return client files.


ROBERT MICHAEL WILLIAMS [#69540], 59, of Stockton was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 11, 2005.

The State Bar Court found that Williams failed to perform legal services competently or inform his clients about significant developments in their case.

Williams represented a married couple who were defendants in an unlawful detainer action. The couple rented a house in Stockton that was sold, and after they received a 30-day notice to vacate, they stopped paying rent because they were afraid they would lose their last month’s rent and their security deposit.

When they hired Williams, they told him they intended to move and did not want to return to Stockton for the trial, but wanted to be represented so they could avoid having a money judgment recorded against them. Williams said he would ask the judge for a time extension to allow the couple to pay any money judgment that might be awarded against them, but said he could not guarantee such an extension.

Williams appeared at a hearing and entered into a stipulation that if the couple paid $746 to the landlord within a month no money judgment would be entered against them. He never informed his clients about the agreement, nor did he respond to their numerous inquiries. The landlord ultimately informed the couple that a judgment against them had been recorded.

Williams refunded the clients’ $250 advance fee plus $123.28 that he sent because of the entry of judgment as a result of his failure to inform them about the judgment. He recommended that the clients pay the judgment but indicated that if they were unable to do so, they could seek the court’s permission to make monthly payments.

Williams has been disciplined twice. In 2003, the bar court found that in two client matters he failed to perform legal services competently, notify a client of his receipt of funds, promptly pay out those funds or respond to client inquiries. The matter is on appeal. In 1995, the bar court found that he committed nine acts of misconduct in seven matters, including four counts of failure to perform.


FRANCIS JOSEPH McGREW [#122523], 49, of Oakland was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to make restitution and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

McGrew stipulated to misconduct in two cases. In the first, he failed to appear for two scheduled court hearings; his client dismissed him and sought a refund of unearned advance fees. McGrew has paid $3,000 toward the amount owed and agreed to repay a total of $5,500.

In the second matter, he failed to comply with the conditions of a private reproval: he did not file seven quarterly reports on time, did not make full restitution or attend ethics school.

In mitigation, McGrew cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


JAMES PATRICK MASON [#86368], 52, of Rexford, Mont. was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension, and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

Mason stipulated to two counts of misconduct.

He represented three individuals who may have had conflicting interests without obtaining their written consent.

The three were injured in an auto accident and Mason filed suit on their behalf. The defendants settled with one client for $17,000 and with another for $15,000; Mason deposited two checks for those amounts in his client trust account without informing the clients. After sending release forms to the wrong address, he faxed the forms to the clients, who signed and returned them.

A dispute arose between Mason and the clients over their doctor’s bill. Mason stipulated that he charged unconscionable fees: he charged $1,218.75 for his alleged negotiation with insurance companies, $1,312.50 in “extraordinary fees,” $1,500 under a clause of the contract, $50 for a stop payment fee and $166.50 for the time it took him to drive to the bank to place the stop payment.

In mitigation, Mason has no prior record of discipline and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


NIKOLA MARIO MIKULICICH JR. [#169706], 33, of Redondo Beach was suspended for 30 days, stayed, and placed on one year of probation. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

Mikulicich stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently in a slip and fall case against a hotel. Mikulicich substituted in to the case, which settled for $25,000 the day trial was to begin. He never finalized the settlement and no funds have been released.

Mikulicich was privately reproved in 2004 for failing to cooperate with a bar investigation.


JAMES CARLISLE REGAN [#101905], 58, of Los Angeles was suspended for three years, stayed, actually suspended for 18 months and until the State Bar Court terminates the suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

In a default hearing, the State Bar Court found that Regan committed misconduct in three cases. Over a four-year period, he hired employees of Chinese descent to help him in representing Chinese nationals in immigration matters. He does not speak, read or understand any Chinese dialect, nor did some of his employees, so he did not personally communicate with his clients. He also was unable to train his employees or supervise their work. Instead, he relied on his office manager, a non-lawyer, to bring in and meet with potential clients.

Regan had an agreement with the office manager that she would receive 60 percent of the fees paid by clients she brought in.

In 2000, Regan allowed the office manager to open a satellite office, which he visited once. The office manager created a law office called Xibu Business Services (XBS) and filed documents with the INS, many of them political asylum cases, on behalf of XBS.

Regan believed the office manager represented more than 40 clients, accepted fees and never reported the money collected. He also believed she coached the clients to lie in order to obtain asylum and that she took client files from the office. Regan made a police report alleging the office manager embezzled funds from his office, falsified immigration documents in his name and removed files.

However, he continued his relationship with the office manager for more than a year. At a hearing before a labor commissioner, Regan falsely testified that the woman was no longer working for him. He also ran advertisements in Chinese periodicals that included incorrect information.

The bar court found that Regan aided someone in the unauthorized practice of law, illegally split fees with a non-lawyer, engaged in false advertising and committed an act of moral turpitude. In addition, three clients sued him within a year and he did not report the claims to the State Bar.

In another matter, Regan filed suit against a hotel on behalf of a client, but he did not inform the client about a cross-complaint or that the case was dismissed because the statute of limitations expired. The bar court found that he failed to keep a client informed about developments in his case.

In a third matter, he did not file a bankruptcy petition or perform any legal services for a client who paid a $3,000 advance fee. The bar court found that he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation, and he improperly withdrew from a case.

Regan also was disciplined in 2003 for misconduct involving two clients: he failed to return client files, respond to client inquiries, appeared without authority, misled a judge and committed acts of moral turpitude.


LEWIS R. WIENER [#41186], 64, of Corte Madera was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 90-day actual suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 955. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

Wiener prepared the tax returns for a married couple from the late 1970s to 2001. He also joined the couple and four other people in purchasing property that was held by the Shoreline Trust. Wiener served as trustee.

In 2000, the couple asked Wiener to liquidate their interest in the trust; he did so and sent them a substantial amount of money but did not provide an accounting, despite their numerous requests.

In 2001, he failed to prepare the couple’s tax returns. On April 15, 2002, he advised the couple to seek extensions for the year 2001 and promised to prepare the tax returns. Although the couple called him frequently, he never prepared their tax returns or provided old documents.

Wiener stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, return client documents, respond to client inquiries, render accounts or cooperate with the bar’s investigation and he improperly withdrew from employment.

He has been disciplined three times previously with a 1990 private reproval, a suspension in 1998 for failing to provide competent legal services, communicate with a client or cooperate with a bar investigation, and a suspension in 2000 for violating the terms of his probation.


EMANUEL D. ZOLA [#207404], 36, of Beverly Hills was suspended for 90 days, stayed, placed on one year of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

Zola stipulated to misconduct in two cases.

In the first, he either failed to appear or appeared late at criminal hearings in which he represented the defendant. In the second, neither he nor his client appeared and the client was arrested. The client appeared in custody at a later hearing, but Zola never showed up.

In mitigation, Zola was an inexperienced lawyer, became overextended and was under stress. He performed substantial work for both clients and has restructured his practice to avoid further problems.


ARNOLD CHIN [#95797], 57, of San Francisco was suspended for one year, stayed, actually suspended for 60 days and until the State Bar Court terminates the suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds 90 days, he must comply with rule 955; if it exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Chin failed to perform with competence, inform a client of a significant development or cooperate with the bar’s investigation and he improperly withdrew from employment.

He represented a client in a discrimination claim before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission but did not notify his client about a pre-hearing conference and did not participate. The client filed a written response to a motion by the opposing party without benefit of counsel. Chin did not return the client’s phone calls and stopped working on her case, which ultimately was dismissed.

In mitigation, Chin has no record of discipline in more than 20 years of practice.


GINA LYNN KERSHAW [#203848], 38, of Rancho Cucamonga was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove her rehabilitation. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

Kershaw was convicted of three misdemeanor counts of capping after she worked with another lawyer who illegally solicited business from jail inmates and bail bondsmen. Kershaw asked the other attorney to stop making referral fees, to no avail, and she continued to practice with him. She was present when the other lawyer separated 20 percent of a $60,000 referral fee to give a kickback to a bail bondsman. She also personally delivered a referral fee to a bail bondsman.

Instead of leaving the practice, Kershaw tried to limit her involvement with her partner’s illegal activities. She ultimately resigned because her partner continued to get referrals and pay kickbacks.

As a result of the conviction, Kershaw was placed on probation for six months and was ordered to pay $20,000 to the Victim Restitution Fund. She complied with all probation conditions and her record was expunged.

In mitigation, Kershaw was an inexperienced lawyer and her participation in her partner’s illegal kickback scheme was secondary to his, she cooperated with law enforcement, sold her home to pay the fine, and has started a new practice where she receives proper referrals. She performs extensive pro bono work. No clients were harmed by her actions.


LEROY ALLEN MARTIN [#137619], 52, of Los Angeles was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect June 18, 2005.

Martin stipulated to misconduct in three immigration matters — he failed to provide legal services competently, respond to clients’ inquiries about their cases, refund advance fees or return client files.

In the first case, he failed to file a petition with the INS for his client, who had paid $2,670 in advance attorney fees. When the client complained, Martin did not respond, refund his fee or return his documents. The client hired a new lawyer, but Martin could not find his file and did not respond to three requests for information.

In a second, similar case, Martin did not file a petition with the IRS, respond to his client’s inquiries or refund an unearned fee.

In a third case, Martin was hired to amend a client’s working privileges in the U.S. Martin’s paralegal did the intake and did not communicate with Martin, who filed the required form several months late. The client hired a new lawyer, who determined that the form also contained several serious errors.

Martin did not respond to the client’s numerous phone calls about the status of his case, sign a substitution of attorney form, provide the client’s file or refund unearned fees.

Martin was suspended in 2002 for misconduct in four immigration matters and in 1994 for six counts of misconduct.

In mitigation, he demonstrated remorse.


SUE ELLEN CASTRELLON [#128823], 57, of Chula Vista Probation was revoked, the previous stay of suspension was lifted and she was actually suspended for three years. Credit will be given for the period of inactive enrollment that began Feb. 9, 2005.

Castrellon failed to comply with the probation conditions of a 2004 disciplinary order: she did not file two quarterly probation reports or declare under penalty of perjury that she had complied with specified restrictions on her practice.

The underlying discipline was imposed after Castrellon stipulated to 22 counts of misconduct in 10 consolidated matters, including failing to perform legal services competently, keep clients informed about their cases or advise a client to seek independent legal advice, and she willfully disobeyed a court order, abandoned a client, and while acting as an attorney for a party, she sought an agreement that her professional misconduct would not be reported.

She did not participate in the probation revocation proceedings.


GREGORY D. ESAU [#111487], 49, of Seattle Probation was revoked, the previous stay of suspension was lifted and he was actually suspended for six months and ordered to comply with rule 955. The order took effect July 10, 2005.

Esau did not comply with probation conditions attached to a 2003 discipline — he failed to submit four quarterly probation reports or report a change of address and phone number to the bar.

The 2003 discipline was imposed for similar misconduct — Esau failed to comply with the probation conditions of a 2001 private reproval by not submitting quarterly reports, completing three hours of MCLE or taking the MPRE.

He originally stipulated to a reprimand in the state of Washington for failing to place funds in a client trust account, maintain records of client funds, promptly pay out client funds or properly terminate employment.


STEPHEN MARK FIEGEL [#147755], 49, of Elk Grove was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a six-month actual suspension and was ordered to comply with rule 955 and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect July 10, 2005.

Fiegel was placed on interim suspension in 2003 as a result of a conviction for felony hit and run. According to a stipulation he reached with the bar, prior to the starting date of the interim suspension, Fiegel recommended that his clients employ attorney Richard Burton. He and Burton agreed that Fiegel would be compensated on contingency fee cases that generated attorney’s fees during his suspension. They disagree on how those fees were to be allocated.

A former client settled a matter in which Burton received $8,000 in contingency fees. Burton paid Fiegel $3,000 without the client’s consent to divide the fees. Fiegel stipulated that he improperly divided a legal fee without obtaining the client’s consent.

At the time of the stipulation, Fiegel denied two other charges filed by the bar (moral turpitude and threatening criminal or administrative charges in a civil dispute), but agreed to accept the level of discipline sought by the bar based on the bar’s position that Fiegel committed those violations.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


PETER SHAWN JOHNSON [#189710], 41, of San Diego was suspended for one year, stayed, actually suspended for 90 days and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 and take the MPRE. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect July 10, 2005.

In a default proceeding, the bar court found that Johnson committed five acts of misconduct in a family law matter for which a client paid a $2,000 advance fee. Although he mailed a document to the client for review, the client never was able to contact him, despite leaving many messages and sending two certified letters.

The bar court found that Johnson failed to perform legal services competently, respond to client inquiries, return a file or refund unearned fees, and he improperly withdrew from employment. He also failed to keep his membership records up to date.


Contact Us Site Map Notices Privacy Policy
© 2018 The State Bar of California