The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
Although Nevada authorities say Charles Radosevich has the distinction of being disbarred in two states, Colorado and Nevada, that did not stop him from continuing to work in the legal field, both as a paralegal, and according to the district attorney’s office, as an unlicensed lawyer.
The Las Vegas Sun is reporting that Radosevich faces felony charges for allegedly stealing over $190,000.00 from individuals who had paid him for his attorney services.
What is most baffling about this case is the length of time – almost a decade – that Radosevich has allegedly been practicing law without a license, despite complaints over the years to the State Bar and the police.
Most of the time, however, Radosevich managed to stay outside the reach of the bar by working in the offices of licensed attorneys, [David Clark, deputy counsel for the State Bar] said. Nevada, unlike some other states, requires no licensing of people who do paralegal work. When alleged misconduct occurs by people at a law office, the bar has authority to go after only the licensed lawyers in the firm, Clark said.
And that’s what his organization did.
The bar brought sanctions against two lawyers who associated with Radosevich. One, Manuel Montelongo, has lost his license to practice law in Nevada, and the other, Philip Singer, has accepted the same punishment but it hasn’t been finalized, Clark said.
“We didn’t find evidence of such brazen public harm until this year, and by that time, we were heavily involved in disciplinary proceedings with the two lawyers who had been associated with him,” Clark said.
(I’m not aware of any states requiring licensing of paralegals as of the date of this post, although California has enacted legislative requirements that must be met by individuals who identify themselves as paralegals.)
Prior civil sanctions against Radosevich, including a 2000 agreement with the Nevada State Bar “not to handle divorces, bankruptcy petitions, immigration-related matters, personal injury cases or any other activity that could be viewed as practicing law,” seem to have had no affect whatsoever on his continued representation of himself as a lawyer.
Situations like this are why some people argue that disbarred attorneys should never be allowed to work in the legal field, as paralegals or otherwise.
Also, the crime of practicing law without a license should be vigorously prosecuted, even if theft or other consumer protection violations are not involved, so that individuals like Radosevich, who ignore relatively painless civil remedies, have real incentive to desist.