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2013 Investigative Summary 15

Investigation of Alleged Failure to Maintain Active Membership in a State Bar

A DOJ attorney failed to pay her state bar dues for an extended period. As a result, her state bar membership was suspended and she was not an active member of any state bar during that time. Upon learning that her bar membership had been suspended, the DOJ attorney immediately contacted her state bar and paid her dues. The state bar retroactively reinstated the DOJ attorney’s active membership status to the date of her suspension. During the period of her suspension, the DOJ attorney certified to the Department on two occasions that she was an active member of the state bar.

OPR conducted an investigation and concluded that the DOJ attorney engaged in professional misconduct by acting in reckless disregard of her obligation to comply with Department policy when she certified to the Department on two occasions that her state bar membership was active when, at the time of her certifications, her state bar membership had been suspended for non-payment of dues. OPR found that the DOJ attorney took no steps to ensure that she was in compliance with her active bar membership requirement before certifying to the Department that she was in compliance.

OPR also concluded that because she was fully reinstated retroactively by the bar, the DOJ attorney did not engage in misconduct by failing to maintain an active bar membership, but that she exercised extremely poor judgment in the handling of her bar license when she failed to pay her state bar dues for an extended period.

OPR referred its misconduct findings to the DOJ attorney’s component for a determination as to discipline. The DOJ attorney was issued a letter of reprimand by the component.

Updated July 13, 2021