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How can a CA resident steer clear of a bad-faith attorney?

Sometimes it takes a bit of proactive doing.

That is the bottom line applicable in select instances where a would-be or actual California client has strong misgivings about whether an attorney is acting competently and ethically or deceptively and in bad faith.

Of course, state legal authorities are vested with lawyer oversight and the job of distinguishing capable and honorable practitioners from those who are, well … something else. Bar officials and judicial tribunals attend to that task by erecting a licensing threshold, checking background data, imposing eligibility fees and taking additional actions.

And sometimes even all that is not enough to identify and halt the continued practice of a problematic attorney taking advantage of unsuspecting clients.

That reality is manifestly underscored in a recent American Bar Association Journal article on one attorney. Although that lawyer was ultimately disciplined in Pennsylvania, he falsely claimed practicing privileges in many states, including California.

And he wasn’t detected for a full 17 years following the suspension of his license.

Specifically, he wasn’t formally disbarred from practice until late this year, having falsely continued to hold himself out as duly licensed from the time of his December 2002 suspension until the end of this October.

How is it possible that a legal advocate suspended from practice can continue to flout rules and restrictions for such a long time? Following suspension, the attorney advertised his services on social media. He also lied concerning job placements/experience and actually represented clients in many matters.

Sometimes, a “some people just fall through the cracks” response is the only rational explanation.

The ABA article arguably provides this strong takeaway for any member of the general public who has retained or is contemplating retaining an attorney for work on a legal matter: Do the due diligence required to ensure competence and integrity.

Bar and judicial organs do their best to ensure lawyers’ good-faith compliance wbase competency. Any individual having questions or concerns regarding an attorney might reasonably want to be a bit proactive about vetting legal counsel, though. They can take a meaningful step toward doing so by contacting a proven legal team of pro-client malpractice attorneys.