Your Name is Just That — Yours

The State Bar has filed charges against an attorney who is accused of violating SB 94, the relatively recent law prohibiting the collection of advance fees for loan modification services.  (See the Bar’s press release here for more details on this case.)  What I noticed in reading this release is that the attorney is accused of allowing non-lawyers to operate their business using his name.  (The fact that it’s a loan modification services case is far less interesting to me, considering the large volume of such complaints the Bar has received in recent times.)

Talk to any older lawyer who has been in practice for multiple decades, and they will probably make some comment about how the profession has changed.  One thing that remains constant in law is that our names mean so much.  We may practice with a big firm, and then the firm’s name carries a lot of weight, but speak with any other lawyer and they will care as much about the individual’s name as the firm’s.  Our name is our business card, it’s our reputation, and we must protect it.

As I have mentioned when posting about other Bar press releases, I know nothing of this specific attorney’s case and have no involvement in his defense.  I have read only the Bar’s version of the case in the cited release.  From this I make the following comment — be so aware of your name, of how it is used and for what purposes.  Always control anything that bears your name.  Do not allow yourself to become responsible for work someone else has done and that you have not sanctioned.  When the Bar comes knocking, they are going to be looking for the attorney whose name is on the door.

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