California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 2000
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - January 2000
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News Briefs
Former Unruh aide appointed to serve on State Bar board
Ardaiz, O'Leary named jurists of the year for '99
Judicial Administration fellowships
Public law section online library
Board meets Feb. 4-5
51.2 percent pass July '99 bar exam
Board hires search firm for new bar chief
Litigation section offers MCLE week in legal London
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Trials Digest
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From the President - Reciprocity reform: The future is now
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Opinion
For most Americans, our system is a failure
Ethics 2000: On target, or lost in space
Letters to the Editor
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Public Comment
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MCLE Self-Study
Of Counsel: Avoiding Conflicts
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Important Information About Your 2000 Membership Fee
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You Need to Know
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Appointments
Apply to serve on a bar committee
Bar seeks applicants for ABA delegates
Judge evaluation positions open
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - Warding off the foul tort in a new year
Bankruptcy attorney disbarred after abandoning clients
Attorney Discipline

DISCIPLINE

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CAUTION!
More than 165,850 attorneys are eligible to practice law in California. Many attorneys share the same names.

All discipline reports should be read carefully for names, ages, addresses and bar numbers. Attorneys must report address changes within 30 days.

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DISBARMENTS

CURTIS A. SCOTT [#144352], 48, of Anderson was disbarred Oct. 22, 1999, and was ordered to comply with rule 955 of the California Rules of Court.

In a default proceeding, the State Bar Court found that Scott committed multiple acts of misconduct, including abandoning a client, failing to return unearned fees and communicate with clients, writing bad checks and failing to cooperate with the bar’s investigation.

He twice asked clients for personal loans without advising them to seek independent legal counsel or obtaining the clients’ written consent to the transaction. In both cases, he deceived the clients by falsely telling them he was entitled to statutory fees in legal proceedings. He also indicated the loans were secured when they were not.

Scott also mishandled his client trust account, writing 73 checks of more than $6,500 for personal expenses. Two were written against insufficient funds.

In one matter, Scott was hired to draft a will, prepare a declaration of homestead and draft two documents creating life estates for his client. He did not do the work, answer his client’s phone calls or return unearned fees. In fact, he moved his office without notifying the client.

In mitigation, he has no record of discipline since his 1989 admission to the bar.

State Bar Court Judge Nancy Roberts Lonsdale said she saw no alternative to disbarment. “The misconduct involves serious financial impropriety and dishonesty,” Lonsdale wrote. “There is nothing to assure the court that such improprieties will not be repeated.”

INTERIM SUSPENSION

RONALD C. BROWN [#92531], 44, of Woodland Hills was placed on interim suspension Oct. 23, 1999, following a conviction for aiding and abetting wire fraud. He was ordered to comply with rule 955. Brown resigned with charges pending Nov. 4.

MITCHELL H. KREITENBERG [#108440], 41, of Los Angeles was placed on interim suspension Oct. 27, 1999, following a federal conviction for conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.