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Caution! More than 200,000 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

LAURA J. COLBURN [#149567], 44, of San Diego was disbarred Sept. 26, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

Colburn pleaded guilty in 2006 to methamphetamine possession and child endangerment — possession of methamphetamine in the presence of a minor. Both are misdemeanors. The State Bar Court entered her default when she failed to participate in the disciplinary proceedings.

Colburn’s husband was arrested in 2005 for possession for sale of more than one pound of methamphetamine while he was transporting the drug in his car. He told police there were more drugs at home, where he and Colburn lived with her 12-year-old daughter and 8-year-old twin sons.

At the home, police found a plastic bag containing 99 percent pure methamphetamine in Colburn’s coin purse. She admitted it was hers but said it was solely for her and her husband’s personal use.

The bar court found that Colburn’s convictions involved moral turpitude; she possessed a significant amount of the drug and she and her children lived with her husband knowing that he was a drug dealer.

Colburn has three previous disciplines: a 1995 suspension for failing to perform legal services competently; a 1997 suspension for practicing law while suspended and failing to comply with probation conditions; and a 2002 suspension following a conviction for misdemeanor petty theft after she shoplifted more than $400 worth of merchandise, a crime involving moral turpitude.

“When viewed collectively, [Colburn’s] prior criminal conduct and her present criminal conduct establish that [she] has a longstanding lack of respect for the law and of her professional obligation to obey it,” wrote Judge Donald F. Miles, who recommended her disbarment.


DAVID TURNER HARNEY [#142760], 54, of Los Angeles was disbarred Sept. 26, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Harney failed to comply with rule 9.20 as required by a 2007 disciplinary order. He did not submit to the State Bar Court an affidavit attesting that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other pertinent parties of his suspension. Failure to comply with the rule is grounds for disbarment.

In the underlying discipline, also a default, the bar court found in 2007 that Harney failed to perform legal services competently, disobeyed court orders and did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation. The statute of limitations expired in a medical malpractice case he was handling. The client won a malpractice verdict against Harney for $429,000 plus interest. He did not appear at two judgment debtor examinations.

The same year, Harney was publicly reproved for failing to respond to a State Bar investigator’s inquiries.


WILLIAM MAYA [#109571], 61, of Concord was disbarred Sept. 26, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that in a dog bite case, Maya committed four acts of misconduct: he failed to perform legal services competently, respond to client inquiries, return a client file or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

Maya filed a personal injury claim in 2001 and although the client was deposed and filled out discovery-related documents, Maya did not pursue the case. He failed to respond to discovery requests or to the defendants’ motion to compel and for judgment on the pleadings. As a result, the case was dismissed and Maya was sanctioned. He did not respond to his client’s numerous inquiries about the case nor did he inform him about various hearings and motions.

Maya was disciplined in 1990 and 1992 for misconduct that included failing to respond to client inquiries, refund unearned fees or perform legal services competently and he withdrew from a case without protecting his client’s interests and committed acts of moral turpitude. He also violated the terms of his probation.


WADE V. SHANG [#128409], 53, of South San Francisco was disbarred Sept. 26, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

Shang was convicted of two tax evasion felony counts for underreporting taxable income in 1996 and 1998. The bar court found that his convictions involved moral turpitude.

An attorney and a certified public accountant, Shang handled mostly personal injury matters on a contingency basis with the client receiving from 20 to 33 1/3 percent of the settlement amount. The remaining funds were used to pay Shang’s fees and the client’s medical expenses.

In a criminal trial, the jury found that Shang underreported his taxable income and federal taxes by inflating reported disbursements to clients and claiming those disbursements on his federal income tax returns. The government established that he underreported his taxable income for 1996 and 1998 by $24,838 and $125,307 respectively. As a result, he underreported his taxes by $5,910 and $38,749 for those two years.

Seven clients testified against Shang at his trial. Several said they signed settlement checks written against his client trust account but never received the amount of the check.

In one matter, Shang received settlement checks for $11,000 and $12,500 for a couple injured in an automobile accident. Each received $3,000 as their portion of the settlement. At trial, however, the government produced two checks from Shang’s trust account payable to the clients, one for $7,100 and the other for $8,827. After the IRS begn an investigation, Shang obtained two client signatures on a letter addressed to an IRS agent stating that the couple had received checks for $7,100 and $8,827. Shang paid the couple $1,000 in cash but they said the most they received was $3,000 each.

Another client, whose case settled for $4,000, signed a blank check at Shang’s direction and received $1,000 in cash. At trial, the government produced a check from Shang’s trust account made payable to the same client for $8,000. The client said he never received the check.

Shang continues to maintain his innocence, stating he was unjustly convicted. The federal court rejected his arguments, the court of appeal affirmed his conviction and the bar court found that the crimes involved moral turpitude.

In recommending his disbarment, Judge Pat McElroy wrote, Shang “pursued a course of conduct whereby he refused to report the total amount of his income from the practice of law to the federal government and misled his clients into signing the phony checks or permitting their signatures to be forged.  Such actions were a clear betrayal of his clients’ best interest in favor of respondent’s own selfish desires and exposed his clients to tax audits and their unwitting involvement in his conspiracy to defraud the IRS.”


JOHN HARVEY BRAMLETT [#171763], 46, of Blue Jay was disbarred Oct. 16, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Bramlett did not submit to the court an affidavit attesting that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other pertinent parties of his 2007 suspension from practice. Failure to comply with the requirement is grounds for disbarment.

In the underlying discipline, Bramlett was suspended for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in another jurisdiction, violating a court order and not cooperating with the bar’s investigation. Bramlett also was disciplined in 2007 for failing to perform legal services competently or cooperate with the bar’s investigation.


TODD CLARK DAVIS [#186531], 42, of Riverside was disbarred Oct. 23, 2008, and was ordered to comply with rule 9.20.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Davis failed to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court (since renumbered as rule 9.20) by failing to submit an affidavit to the bar court stating that he notified his clients, opposing counsel and other pertinent parties of his suspension. Failure to comply with the rule is grounds for disbarment.

In the underlying discipline, imposed in 2007, Davis had committed four acts of misconduct: failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with a client, refund $2,500 in unearned fees or cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He also was disciplined earlier in 2007 for misleading a client, an act of moral turpitude, and not cooperating with the bar’s investigation.


SUSPENSION/PROBATION

STEPHINE M. WELLS [#113148], 65, of Mill Valley was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and was ordered to prove her rehabilitation, take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Sept. 12, 2008.

The State Bar Court found that Wells issued two client trust account checks (for $459.65 and $875) against insufficient funds, committing acts of moral turpitude, and failed to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

At the time of the misconduct, Wells was being treated for breast cancer and was suffering from the side effects of the treatment. She has changed the way she handles her trust account.

Wells has been disciplined twice previously — a private reproval in 1993 for commingling funds and a suspension in 2006 for the unauthorized practice of law in another jurisdiction, collecting an illegal and unconscionable fee and failing to return unearned fees and deposit client funds in trust. She also committed an act of moral turpitude.

Although the bar asked that Wells be disbarred, the State Bar Court said such a drastic move was not warranted.


CHARLA RAE DUKE [#95518], 57, of Oakland was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual two-year suspension and until she proves her rehabilitation and she was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Sept. 12, 2008.

After stipulating to trust accounting violations, Duke was accepted in 2006 as a participant in the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program for lawyers with mental health or substance abuse problems. However, she was terminated from the program for failing to comply with its requirements. The bar alleged she did not cooperate with its investigation of two pending complaints against her and she did not appear at a hearing on the matter.

In the underlying discipline, Duke admitted to three violations of professional misconduct involving her client trust account, including failing to preserve the identity of client funds, commingling personal and client funds and issuing insufficiently funded checks.

Over several months in 2003, Duke deposited settlement funds for eight clients in her trust account, but instead of keeping the funds there for the individual clients, she used the funds of some clients to pay disbursals to or on behalf of other clients. She also deposited 10 checks from non-clients into the account, wrote more than 250 checks for non-client related purposes and wrote 15 checks against insufficient funds.

She has two prior disciplines, including a 1998 suspension for failing to file income tax returns.

Although she was accepted into the ADP after the court found she suffered from depression and serious health issues, her termination from the program meant she received no mitigation.


SEAN L. ANDREWS [#171711], 49, of Santa Clarita was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for 90 days and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Andrews violated the terms of a probation attached to a 2006 public reproval. He did not meet with a probation deputy, submit quarterly reports or provide proof that he attended ethics school or took the MPRE.

The underlying discipline was imposed for failing to perform legal services competently in a single matter.


WILLIAM HARVARD DAILEY [#125141], 47, of Encino was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an 18-month actual suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

Dailey stipulated to eight counts of misconduct in four matters.

He substituted in to a civil matter on behalf of a defendant who had represented herself for two months. The client, who had been declared a vexatious litigant, was sanctioned for misleading the court and for filing a cross-complaint without prior court authorization.

The court later granted a motion for terminating sanctions on the grounds that the client violated a preliminary injunction issued earlier. Dailey filed a declaration purportedly signed by the client as part of a petition to the court, but the client was not aware of it. The court ultimately entered a default judgment against Dailey’s client for $558,724.

He stipulated that he did not inform the client about virtually any developments in her case, committed an act of moral turpitude by submitting and signing a declaration by the client without her knowledge, and he appeared without the client’s authority.

Dailey represented another client in a civil dispute but did not respond to the other party’s demands. When the client fired him, he did not refund the advance fees until after she complained to the bar. He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or refund unearned fees.

Dailey represented a defendant through a criminal trial in which she was convicted. He agreed to file an appeal but did so one month late and it was rejected. He did not tell the client or respond to her many inquiries. He stipulated that he failed to communicate with a client or keep her informed about developments in her case.

Dailey also stipulated that he issued checks against insufficient funds in his client trust account.

In mitigation, he had no discipline record in 21 years of practice, cooperated with the bar’s investigation and he was having extreme difficulties in his personal life.


PAUL ROBERT MARKLEY [#102784], 55, of Torrance was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

Markley stipulated that he practiced law while suspended for non-payment of bar dues and he failed to keep his client informed of significant developments.

While suspended, he accepted a personal injury case. Four days later, he sent a check for his fees but it was rejected because late payment was required by certified funds or credit card. He was returned to active status about two weeks later.

In mitigation, Markley has no record of discipline since his 1982 admission to the bar.


BYRON LEE LANDAU [#177247], 55, of Aliso Viejo was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with an actual 60-day suspension and was ordered to prove his rehabilitation and take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

Landau stipulated that he entered into a business transaction with a client without fully disclosing the terms of the transaction or advising the client to seek independent legal counsel.

In 2002, Landau became friendly with David Bezar, manager and owner of Interactive Communications, LLC. Landau represented Bezar in a contract dispute and Bezar loaned Landau small amounts of money that he repaid. In May 2003, Bezar hired Landau for another contract dispute and a short time later, loaned Landau money to keep his law practice afloat. Landau and his wife were co-debtors in a bankruptcy action at the time.

Over the next five months, Landau accepted eight loans totaling $115,000 from Bezar, who became a consultant to Landau’s law firm. At one point, Landau offered Bezar positions as chief operating officer and chief financial officer. They hired another lawyer to help negotiate the terms under which Bezar would provide management and consulting services to Landau’s firm, but they never reached a formal agreement.

While negotiations were ongoing, Landau disputed Bezar’s accounting of work done for the law firm. A couple of weeks later, Bezar bought a $25,000 Lexus for Landau, who provided a $2,000 down payment and agreed to pay all expenses including insurance, maintenance and gas. Bezar financed the remaining $23,000 in his name.

Three days after Landau borrowed more than $33,000 from Bezar, bringing the total to $115,000, he informed Bezar his services as COO and CFO would not be required. One of Landau’s employees was promoted to do the work.

Two days later, Landau e-mailed Bezar a proposed MOU under which Bezar/Interactive would provide consultation services worth $3,000 a month and would loan Landau more money, up to $150,000. They could not agree and Bezar asked Landau to either finalize an agreement or repay the loans. Landau agreed to try to finalize an agreement and asked the other lawyer to try again.

Bezar next asked Landau for proof of insurance for the Lexus, instructed the other lawyer to stop working on an agreement, and demanded repayment of some expenses rendered to Landau’s law firm as well as a minimum payment on the loans. Although Landau claimed he made the payments, Bezar demanded repayment of the full amount. Landau refused. He also refused to return the Lexus, which Bezar repossessed.

Bezar sued Landau, who agreed to repay $117,000.

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


GREGG LEE KAYS [#82052], 55, of San Jose was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with an actual 30-day suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

The State Bar Court found that Kays failed to perform legal services competently or respond to client inquiries and he improperly withdrew from a wrongful termination case.

Kays did not file complaint forms with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing for more than three months and once DFEH granted the client the right to sue, he never sent a demand letter to the client’s former employer.

Instead, he stopped working on the case because the client was very delinquent in paying her legal bills. The client made some partial payments and Kays never advised her that he would not send a demand letter without full payment. Kays sent the client a bill that included 10 percent interest, which was not part of the fee agreement.

When the client complained to the State Bar, Kays said he felt the damages sought by the client were not realistic; however, he never gave that advice to his client. 

He did not respond to 17 telephone messages, return the client’s file or advise her of the status of her case.

Kays was disciplined in 1992 for similar misconduct.

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


JOHN W. JOHANSON [#82001], 55, of Henderson, Nev. was suspended for four years, stayed, actually suspended for two years and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension and he proves his rehabilitation, and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Johanson committed two acts of misconduct.

He obtained a partial settlement of his client’s workers’ compensation claim, but did not respond to her subsequent telephone messages. Johanson eventually received a letter from a Minnesota lawyer stating that he now represented the client and he received no further communications about the case from the workers’ compensation appeals board (WCAB).

Nonetheless, without the client’s knowledge, he filed a document with the WCAB on the client’s behalf indicating he expected to present a witness and needed an hour for a hearing. The client later notified the WCAB she had fired Johanson.

The bar court found that Johanson failed to respond to his client’s inquiries.

He also did not keep his address up-to-date with the State Bar.

Johanson has been suspended twice previously: in 1998, for failure to perform legal services competently, misappropriation of client funds and making misrepresentations to his client and a medical provider; and in 2006, for failing to return a client file or deposit client funds into a trust account and for violating a court order.


JAY WILLIAM JACOBUS [#55757], 64, of Walnut Creek was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 10-month actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year and comply with rule 9.20. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

Jacobus stipulated to eight counts of misconduct for clients who as co-executors of an estate asked him to finalize all estate matters. Several months after he was hired, he was suspended for nonpayment of bar dues.

While suspended, he appeared at a probate hearing. A few months later, he billed the clients for $52,000 without obtaining a court order to receive fees from an estate in probate, as required by the Probate Code. Two weeks after the clients paid the bill, Jacobus paid his bar dues and was restored to active status.

During the course of his later representation of the clients, Jacobus failed to list all the estate’s assets on a form filed with the court, did not ensure that appropriate estate tax forms were filed on time, instructed the clients not to pay the estate’s estimated taxes as they came due (resulting in an IRS fine) and did not file another document on time. He was ordered to file a further status report but did not do so and the court set a hearing to determine sanctions against the clients.

They fired Jacobus and demanded a return of the $52,000 plus $1,200 they paid as advanced costs. The court ordered that he refund the money and although he repaid about half, he did not repay the full amount. One check bounced.

Jacobus stipulated that he practiced law while suspended, committing acts of moral turpitude, advised clients to violate the law, failed to perform legal services competently, keep clients informed of developments in their case or refund unearned fees, and he collected an illegal fee and disobeyed a court order.

Jacobus was privately reproved in 1994.

In mitigation, he had severe financial problems because of his ex-wife’s medical expenses.


GARY MICHAEL SEGAL [#116200], 50, of Las Vegas was suspended for two years, stayed, actually suspended for 90 days and until the State Bar Court grants a motion to terminate the suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20. If the actual suspension exceeds two years, he must prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

In a default proceeding, the bar court determined that Segal’s suspension in Nevada for misconduct in five matters warranted discipline in California: his actions involved failing to perform legal services competently, communicate with clients or return client papers, and he did not cooperate with the bar’s investigation. He was suspended for six months and one day in Nevada.

Segal was retained to finalize a divorce by pursuing the client’s former wife’s failure to make timely support payments, facilitating transfer of title to a boat and trailer owned by the client and recovering the ex-wife’s half of an outstanding loan. Acting on Segal’s advice, the client took his boat and trailer to Arizona, where they were impounded. He had to pay $500 to repossess them. Segal did not finalize the other matters and did not return most of his client’s phone calls.

He represented another client in claims against the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for injuries sustained in a fall. The client repeatedly expressed concern that his case was not being pursued. Although Segal and the client appeared at a hearing, the client subsequently was hospitalized for stroke-like symptoms and Segal never contacted him again.

After Segal missed an appointment with a witness, the client consulted another lawyer who within minutes obtained the case status online, which revealed that Segal failed to advise him of numerous pertinent dates and developments, including the fact that the case was closed. Segal did not return the file as requested.

He filed a personal injury claim for a couple but in hearings on motions filed by the defendant to dismiss the case, Segal advised the court that he had not had the opportunity to conduct discovery. At a subsequent hearing, he argued that dismissal was a harsh remedy and offered to pay $500 in sanctions for the inconvenience to all parties. The court denied the motion to dismiss and directed Segal to pay $2,500 to opposing counsel within one week to preclude dismissal, which he did. Three months later, he was sanctioned another $250 for failing to timely file a conference report and he later failed to appear at another hearing. The case was dismissed.

In another divorce case, Segal did not return a proposed divorce decree to the opposing party or submit it to the court.

Prior to the complaints of his clients, Segal was required by the Nevada disciplinary board to enter into a mentoring agreement for one year to address problems arising from improper management of his law firm. A bar representative informed Segal that his participation in the program was unsuccessful because of the complaints and although he said he wanted to discuss the matter further, he did not contact the bar again.


MARTIN H. PRITIKIN [#210845], 32, of Costa Mesa was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on one year of probation with a 30-day actual suspension, and he was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

Pritikin left his law firm in 2004 to become a professor at Whittier Law School. However, he did not notify the State Bar of a change of address. He later was suspended for failing to complete MCLE requirements or pay bar dues.

While suspended, he handled a case and conducted a deposition. He paid his bar fees and complied with the MCLE requirement the day after the deposition and was reinstated.

Pritikin admitted he did not change his address and he practiced while suspended. However, the bar court declined to find his actions entailed moral turpitude, as charged by the bar. Pritikin argued that he was unaware of his suspension through negligence.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, immediately paid his dues when he became aware of the suspension, presented favorable reference letters and has done extensive pro bono work.


ARTHUR PATRICK OREJUDOS [#188555], 42, of Daly City was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 26, 2008.

Orejudos stipulated to four counts of misconduct resulting from his business relationship with a non-lawyer. The non-lawyer was responsible for most of the day-to-day work on personal injury matters, prepared all paperwork, negotiated settlements and maintained client contacts. Orejudos eventually only signed for and deposited settlement funds into the client trust account. Fees were divided between the two.

He stipulated that he aided a person in the unauthorized practice of law, improperly divided attorney’s fees with a non-lawyer, failed to perform legal services competently and committed an act of moral turpitude.

In mitigation, no clients complained about settlement funds or the services performed.


ARLO H. SMITH [#96971], 53, of San Francisco was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to make restitution and prove his rehabilitation. The order took effect Oct. 4, 2008.

Smith successfully completed the State Bar’s Alternative Discipline Program after demonstrating a nexus between his mental health problems and misconduct in two matters. The discipline recommended at the time of his 2004 stipulation was postponed until completion of the program and is now imposed.

Smith successfully represented a couple in a real property lawsuit through trial and appeal. The couple asked Smith to sue for damages against the opposing party in the litigation and although he filed a complaint, he later determined the action lacked merit and dismissed the case. However, he did not tell his clients or withdraw properly, which would have allowed them to hire another lawyer. Although Smith offered to help the clients explore other avenues of relief, he never did so.

He stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently, keep his clients informed of significant developments in their case or properly withdraw from representation.

In a second matter, while representing a group of defendants in a lawsuit, he filed for bankruptcy for one defendant and improperly removed the entire matter to bankruptcy court. He subsequently failed to file bankruptcy schedules and the case was dismissed and returned to the original court.

On the day set for jury trial, Smith filed a bankruptcy petition for another defendant and again moved the litigation to bankruptcy court. The plaintiff dismissed that defendant from her case, the bankruptcy court dismissed the petition and again sent the case back to superior court.

He then filed a second bankruptcy petition for the first defendant and again improperly moved the case to bankruptcy court. The plaintiff then dismissed that defendant from the case. The bankruptcy judge set an order to show cause against Smith, returned the case to state court and ordered Smith not to remove it again without the court’s permission.

The day of trial, Smith withdrew as counsel for yet another defendant who said he planned to file for bankruptcy and would move the case to bankruptcy court on his own. Once again, the bankruptcy court remanded the case back to state court and ordered sanctions of more than $16,000 against Smith. The sanctions were affirmed when Smith appealed.

He stipulated that he encouraged filing unjust actions.

Smith also was disciplined in 2001 for three counts of misconduct stemming from a 1996 unlawful detainer case.


DANIEL SLIJEPCEVICH [#152392], 49, of San Rafael was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with a 30-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 4, 2008.

Slijepcevich stipulated that in handling a personal injury case, he committed an act of moral turpitude by endorsing the name of one payee on a settlement check without notifying the payee and without its authorization.

In 2004, the Rawlings Co., which specializes in recovering medical expenses, sent Slijepcevich a claim for his client’s medical benefits. Rawlings had paid about $9,900 for

her treatment and had filed a lien with the other party’s insurance company, RMIS. Slijepcevich notified both companies that his client did not have automobile insurance and he was seeking only to recover lost wages, not medical expenses.

Subsequently RMIS settled the matter for $15,000 but Slijepcevich did not notify Rawlings. The settlement check was issued to Slijepcevich, his client and Rawlings; Slijepcevich cashed it and deposited it in his client trust account without notifying Rawlings. He also sent his client’s signed release for all claims to RMIS without disclosing that Rawlings did not sign the release and in fact was not aware of it.

He distributed the settlement money to his client and himself.

When Rawlings learned about the check, it complained to the bar.

Slijepcevich also stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation, offered to pay Rawlings some funds and he has family problems.


PETER G. SCHUMAN [#182365], 41, of Fountain Valley was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Oct. 4, 2008.

Schuman stipulated to two counts of misconduct in a legal malpractice/negligence case he filed against a law firm and two lawyers. Although the defendants defaulted, Schuman did not file any documents to obtain judgments for more than a year. When he finally filed documents, they were rejected three times; a new attempt was pending at the time of the bar proceedings.

Schuman stipulated that he failed to perform legal services competently or respond to his client’s status inquiries.

He was disciplined in 2003 for misconduct in three matters: he failed to perform legal services competently, refund unearned fees, respond to client inquiries, account for or disburse client funds or properly maintain his client trust account and he represented clients with possible adverse interests.

In mitigation, his clients were not harmed, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and he took steps to atone for his misconduct. He also took over a sick colleague’s law practice of 1,500 cases and had difficulty controlling the caseload.


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