King v. Weiner
A lawyer who is licensed in another jurisdiction, and who allegedly uses a Web site to solicit clients and accepts attorneys' fees from Connecticut citizens for helping them with loan modifications, although he is not licensed to practice law in Connecticut, violates Rule 5.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Allegedly, the respondent, Bruce Weiner of Irvine, California, used the Web site aslawgroup.com to advertise "comprehensive legal services" and accepted attorneys' fees to help Connecticut citizens with loan modifications. The respondent, who is affiliated with All State Law Group and Consult Law Group in California, is not a licensed debt negotiator in Connecticut. He also is not admitted to the practice of law in Connecticut. The respondent did not file an answer to the grievance complaint. Rule 5.5 provides, "A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in this jurisdiction, shall not: (1) except as authorized by law, establish an office or other systematic and continuous presence in this jurisdiction for the practice of law; or (2) hold out to the public or otherwise represent that the lawyer is admitted to practice law in this jurisdiction." The Statewide Grievance Committee found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the respondent attorney engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, in violation of Rule 5.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, because he solicited legal business in Connecticut and accepted attorneys' fees from Connecticut citizens. "The Respondent," wrote the Statewide Grievance Committee, "is neither a Connecticut licensed debt negotiator nor an attorney qualified to practice law in Connecticut." The respondent attorney also violated Rule 8.4(3), which bars "conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation," and Rule 8.4(4) of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The Statewide Grievance Committee ordered the respondent's presentment to Superior Court for discipline.