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Disbarment: That Was My Pot Money, Man

By William Vogeler, Esq. on November 07, 2017 5:57 AM

What was this lawyer smoking?

A California lawyer received $50,000 in cash from a client to purchase a medical marijuana business. But the lawyer burned through $22,000 in fees, leaving the client short for the purchase.

The client complained to the state bar, saying he didn't authorize the fees and they had no fee agreement. What will the California Supreme Court be thinking when it decides the appropriate discipline?

"Dread Moral Turpitude"

The Legal Profession Blog called it "another marijuana-related disbarment." The website tracks disciplinary cases, and highlights the egregious ones.

In this installment, the blogger cites "the dread moral turpitude." It wasn't the marijuana that did in the lawyer, or was it?

According to the State Bar Court of California, the lawyer "displayed a lack of candor" in his disciplinary hearing. It became apparent he created a forged document by "cutting-and-pasting" signatures to cover up his misdeeds.

He also had been disciplined twice in the past, including reproval for false advertising and failing to obey a court order. One time, he was suspended for failing to refund unearned fees with restitution orders to pay more than $22,000 as restitution.

Recommend Disbarment

The state bar court recommended the California Supreme Court disbar the lawyer, saying he showed no remorse for his behavior. "He remains defiant and has no insight regarding his unethical behavior," the state bar said.

In the meantime, the ethics court declared his membership inactive. The order effectively ended a 24-year career.

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