Skip to comments.Elizabeth Warren represented Massachusetts client in Massachusetts
Posted on 09/29/2012 4:35:57 PM PDT by T Ruth
For how long will Warren defenders maintain the charade that she did not practice law in Massachusetts?
In my post on September 24, Elizabeth Warrens law license problem, I detailed how Elizabeth Warren had used her Harvard office in Cambridge for the practice of law for over a decade in numerous cases in which she appeared as Of Counsel or counsel, and how she identified that office in filings with various courts.
Even though Warren refused to disclose the full extent of her legal practice, I argued that her use of the office in Cambridge for the practice of law, and her systematic and continuous presence in Massachusetts for the practice of law, would be a violation of Massachusetts law since she was not licensed in Massachusetts.
In response, defenders of Warren tried to make distinctions which make no difference to whether Warren improperly maintained an office for the practice of law or a systematic and continuous presence in Massachusetts for the practice of law.
Warren defenders argued that if she only represented non-Massachusetts clients in non-Massachusetts cases which did not involve Massachusetts law, she was not practicing law in Massachusetts even if she was practicing law in Cambridge. Other strawman arguments included that as long as Warren complied with federal court admission requirements, Massachusetts could not require her to be licensed. For reasons I have explained, those arguments are wrong.
Warren defenders were bolstered by the unusual personal commentary offered by Michael Fredrickson, the General Counsel of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers which seemingly exonerated Warren, even though Fredrickson admitted he was just speaking hypothetically and not specifically as to Warren because I know so little about Elizabeth Warren and her practice.
Despite the pushback, the point of my original post is growing stronger with each passing day. Even the author of a post at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, which has been cited as the definitive rebuttal, has admitted:
I want to make clear that I agree with Jack Marshall that Jacobsons allegations are being treated with insufficient seriousness by Warrens sympathizers. That neither she nor her campaign have directly responded to the allegations is disappointing and irresponsible at minimum. In the last few days, my post has been linked far and wide as if it were the definitive debunking of Jacobsons allegations. While I stand by my arguments, neither my original post nor my additional arguments below are exactly a detailed ethics opinion, either. In particular, as Jacobsons response correctly notes, I did not attempt to address his central argument that Professor Warren maintained a systematic and continuous presence in Massachusetts for the practice of law .
Similarly, Jack Marshall at Ethics Alarm writes:
I am dismayed, if not shocked, that the legal establishment, as well as legal ethicists who should know better, are letting their political biases dictate their analysis. It is true that Jacobson is an openly conservative blogger as well as a long-time critic of Warren, but he raises legitimate questions that deserve to be taken at face value, whatever their source. The fact Fredrickson, the BBO General Counsel, felt it necessary to personally defend Warren in the absence of sufficient facts strongly suggests a pro-Warren bias in the disciplinary system, where it really shouldnt matter who breaks the rules, but whether or not they have.
In just the last few days even more information has come forward which supports my original position. We learned that Warren represented to the Texas Bar that her primary practice location was in Cambridge.
We also learned that Warren had a law practice going beyond brief writing, including being hired to provide legal advice to various creditors committees in bankruptcy cases, in which she represented to the Court that her Billing Statement is in the same form regularly used by Professor Warren to bill her clients and in which the work was performed, at $675 per hour as of 2002, from her Cambridge office. There will be more such examples detailed in coming days.
Yet still, Warren defenders persist in defending on the basis that Warren just wrote a few Briefs for out of state cases and never did anything for a Massachusetts client in Massachusetts, much less on a Massachusetts issue of law.
I consider that test irrelevant, but in any event, Warren did represent a Massachusetts client in Massachusetts on a Massachusetts legal issue.
The case was an appeal in the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston in the case of Cadle Company v. Schlictmann.
The case involved a dispute as to a lien on a contingent fee earned by Beverly, Massachusetts lawyer Jan R. Schlichtmann, who was the subject of the film A Civil Action. The issue in the case was whether a creditor or Schlictmann was entitled to the contingency fee earned in a case which started prior to Schlictmanns personal bankruptcy but did not conclude until long after the bankruptcy.
The lien enforcement arose out of state law. Even though there were bankruptcy related issues, the question was whether the state law lien survived. As noted on the court docket and in the ultimate decision, the case only was in federal court because of what is called diversity jurisdiction, which permits a plaintiff to file in federal court if the plaintiff is a citizen of a different state than any of the defendants, and the dollar amount exceeds a minimum threshold (now $75,000).
The First Circuit ruled in favor of the creditor.
Based on the First Circuit docket available through PACER, it appears that Warren and three other Harvard Law professors were brought in to try to convince the First Circuit to reconsider its decision. The Schlichtmann representation is not a case previously disclosed by the Warren campaign.
Warren specifically entered an appearance:
Warrens name appears as one of the counsel of record:
The docket entry leaves some unanswered questions, specifically on what basis and using what license Warren entered her appearance. There does not appear to be any request by Warren for permission to appear in the case. Perhaps some enterprising reader can dig out the First Circuit appearance rules as they existed in August 2001, when Warren entered her appearance.
Regardless, the issue is not whether Warren was authorized under First Circuit rules to enter an appearance in the First Circuit. That is the strawman issue used by Warren defenders to distract.
The issue is whether Warren defenders can continue to maintain the charade that she did not maintain an office for the practice of law, or maintain a systematic and continuous presence in Massachusetts for the practice of law.
Warren defenders have proposed the standard that Warren never represented a Massachusetts client in Massachusetts or on any issue involving Massachusetts state law. Now we know she did.
Update: Elizabeth Warren defender: With this bombshell, I would no longer view the case against her as weak
Elizabeth Warren defender: With this bombshell, I would no longer view the case against her as weak
Warren supporters are hopeless. They’ll just twist this into “a racist attack on her proud Native American heritage”.
Take a look at the Massachusetts State Seal. Take a look at the Harvard motto. It’s a place where nothing but money matters. Paleface Lizzy is a sham and an affront to every citizen in Massachusetts and every student at Harvard. Hey! Harvard students! What else are they lying to you about? How much it costs to run the place and why tuition is so high?
Students and parents are being taken for a "liberal ride". Of course the majority probably think that's OK!
Darn tootin'. This is a racist attack against Native Americans. /S
I don’t have a law degree, so I wonder if she’d help me set up an office in Mass. There is probably room for one more.
Are you liberal?
Are you black?
Are You an academic?
Are you an Indian?
Are you criminal?
You need to be at least two of the above to be an honorary Massachusetts lawyer
I donated to Scott Brown’s campaign in 2010 and I will be donating again shortly — furthermore, I find Elizabeth Warren loathsome. That being said, as an attorney, I can tell you that this claim has no merit.
As a licensed Texas attorney, she can work on cases in other states and appear on the pleadings without a signature block. She cannot sign the pleadings, however, without being admitted pro hac vice; nor can she stand up and speak to the Judge. Unless she did that, everything else is irrelevant. And sometimes lawyers do it anyway. There is no specific punishment for it, except that the Judge tells you: 1) to get local counsel; 2) file a pro hac vice application; or 3) sit down and shut up.
Federal Court lawyers can also practice in Federal Court only in States in which they are not licensed. That is why U.S. Trustees and U.S. Attorneys can practice in states where they are not licensed. They do so regularly.
Folks, can you spare $5 or $10 to help this poor woman out. Donate now to THE LET’S GET PALEFACE LIZZY A LICENSE FUND! It’s just a fishing license, but there appears to be a lot of suckers in the Democrat party in Massachusetts that she’s reeled in.
Elizabeth Warren is just another Fluke.
Sadly, Liberals LIE and expect Other Liberals to Lie also. She will probably win in a landslide. Pathetic people in Massachusetts and other Blue States.
I think it depends on state law. In many states the activities you mention would constitute the unauthorized practice of law, sanctionable by the state. There also may be a practical difference between “working on a case,” and entering an appearance. My understanding is that what Warren did in the Schlichtman case was enter an appearance, and without an active bar admission or a pro hac vice admission, that is unlawful.
Big deal. Everybody knows these rules don’t apply to Democrats, especially Democrats involved in a race against a ‘Pubbie for a Senate seat, and especially in Massachusetts.
If the political parties were reversed, do you think the lack of merit of the claim would in any way influence the media firestorm that would be burying the Republican candidate under 16 feet of concrete, 24 hours a day?
And they wouldn't stop with the Senate candidate either.
If the political affiliations were reversed, the media would be "investigating" every backer of the Republican, every business deal, every friendship, all the way back to the candidates high school years.
They would be asking "how did this person become a candidate?" and "who helped him get there?"
Not to mention "where did the money come from?" and "was any of that money earned by doing legal work without a proper license?"
The MSM would try as much as they could to make it sound like every Republican was involved with a massive cover up of this matter. They would try to tie it to the "culture of corruption" meme.
They would go to every single "client" of this bogus "attorney" and wave cash in front of them until they found one that was willing to file a legal malpractice lawsuit against the candidate on the grounds of misrepresentation of qualifications and practicing law without a license. They would offer to pay all legal costs in the action, and they would even come up with a Massachusetts attorney willing to take the case (if a Republican had done this, 75% of the attorneys in Massachusetts would be volunteering to take the case pro bono).
Storyline: Jan Schlichtmann, a tenacious lawyer, is addressed by a group of families. When investigating the seemingly non-profiting case, he finds it to be a major environmental issue that has a lot of impact potential. A leather production company could be responsible for several deadly cases of leukemia, but also is the main employer for the area. Schlichtmann and his three colleagues set out to have the company forced to decontaminate the affected areas, and of course to sue for a major sum of compensation. But the lawyers of the leather company's mother company are not easy to get to, and soon Schlichtmann and his friends find themselves in a battle of mere survival.
Oddly, the movie did not gross the estimated film's cost ...