In re Stamps
874 So. 2d 113 (La. 2004)
- Mr. and Ms. Stamps were both lawyers. They both took the Louisiana bar and failed.
- While waiting to take the Louisiana bar a second time, they both found temporary work as attorneys in North Carolina for Locklear.
- They were providing legal services, and charging for it.
- They were representing themselves as attorneys.
- They neglected to mention this on their application to take the Louisiana bar.
- Eventually, the Stamps both passed the Louisiana bar and moved back to Louisiana.
- Locklear was investigated by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC), and in the course of that investigation, they determined that the Stamps had been practicing law in North Carolina without a license.
- A violation of Rule 5.5.
- Locklear was disbarred in North Carolina for other nefarious reasons.
- The ODC voted to suspend the Stamps for two years. But two members of the ODC dissented to the leniency of the decision, so it was sent to the Louisiana Supreme Court.
- The Stamps unsuccessfully argued that they were only working as paralegals, not as lawyers. However there was a lot of evidence (documents, testimony) that they had been performing legal services.
- The Louisiana Supreme Court permanently disbarred the Stamps.
- One issue that made the situation much worse for the Stamps was that they attempted a cover-up. Disciplinary boards often look towards repentance and admitting mistakes when they make recommendation for penalties.
- See Rule 8.1, and Rule 8.4