• News Ticker alerts

Lawyer Kerry Steigerwalt, who headed a heavily-advertised law firm that went out of business in 2010, denied this month charges filed by the State Bar of California in December. The charges were similar to those reported in a Reader column June 22, 2011: the bar cited many instances in which people paid upfront for legal services that weren't performed. A Reader column of July 21, 2010, noted that a former employee of Steigerwalt had filed a voluminous complaint with the bar.

  • News Ticker alerts

Comments

Burwell Feb. 3, 2012 @ 1:27 p.m.

The Bar's actions fall far short of what is required. A receiver should be appointed to conduct an audit to determine where the money went. Every penny should be accounted for. It is not clear whether the firm collapsed from bad management, or whether the monies were used improperly. If Steigerwalt wants to salvage his career and reputation, he needs to come clean and open his records to inspection and make a public accounting of where the money went. The fact that the firm has not filed bankruptcy makes it appear that Steigerwalt has something to hide.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 3, 2012 @ 4:13 p.m.

I agree that there should be a thorough investigation, Burwell. I have done two long columns and several brief items on the demise of that firm, beginning two years ago. Steigerwalt's responses to my questions were never satisfactory. Best, Don Bauder

0

Ponzi Feb. 3, 2012 @ 9:59 p.m.

Well forensic accounting and research attorneys cost a butt load. If he can skate, why should he bother?

0

SurfPuppy619 Feb. 3, 2012 @ 1:42 p.m.

He is going to be in big trouble when this is over.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 3, 2012 @ 4:17 p.m.

Well, remember that this is San Diego, where justice doesn't simply move slowly. In many important matters, justice doesn't move at all. Law enforcement agencies are notoriously reluctant to go after the big fish. And judges are notoriously lenient in white collar cases. This has been true for a long time, and as long as it remains true, San Diego will be known as a crime haven. Best, Don Bauder

0

MURPHYJUNK Feb. 6, 2012 @ 8:19 a.m.

Seems to move in reverse in some instances.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 3, 2012 @ 4:21 p.m.

Yes, a lot of counts, but most are substantially the same. There is more than just a number of people who paid upfront and got no service, and a lawyer Steigerwalt hired who was not licensed to practice law in Southern California. Best, Don Bauder

0

SurfPuppy619 Feb. 3, 2012 @ 4:54 p.m.

Actually the lawyer he hired is not enrolled before the federal court for the Southern District. As a licensed lawyer in whatever state he is from he could become a member of the Southern District federal court by reading their rules, signing a form and paying a fee-why he did not is a mystery. He does not need a CA law license to practice before the federal courts (as long as he has one somewhere).

0

Don Bauder Feb. 3, 2012 @ 5:12 p.m.

Yes, one of the points made by the bar is that the Chicago lawyer is supposedly not licensed to practice law in Southern California. And yes, it's a bit of a mystery why he didn't join the California Bar. Best, Don bauder

0

SurfPuppy619 Feb. 3, 2012 @ 6:48 p.m.

He cannot join the CA Bar unless he passes the bar exam, but he can be admitted to practice before the Southern District (where all the BK cases are pending) just by agreeing to their rules and paying the fee.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 3, 2012 @ 9:43 p.m.

If it's that easy, one wonders why he didn't do it. Best, Don Bauder

0

Visduh Feb. 3, 2012 @ 9:29 p.m.

You are all assuming that attorneys deliver after being paid. That's a wonderful assumption, but too often the attorney is the arbiter as to what constitutes the delivery of legal services. If you hire an attorney to represent you, you had better be darned sure of him/her. Many deliver little and deliver it late. Most of the time there's no recourse against the law firm. You simply didn't know what was needed and the attorney was the one to decide what, if anything, needed to be done, where and when. So when little or nothing was done, well, the attorney had done no more than his/her professional opinion required. Just a matter of opinion. So, Steigerwalt must be really out of bounds to get even this level of professional scrutiny.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 3, 2012 @ 9:47 p.m.

Steigerwalt's operation was a fast-buck, high-pressure mill. My two previous columns established that pretty well. Yes, many attorneys don't deliver adequate service, and many stretch out a case forever so their fees can pile up. But Steigerwalt's Pacific Law Center was something else -- a tawdry operation, to say the least. It was tawdry before Steigerwalt took it over, but he didn't do much if anything to reform it. Best, Don Bauder

0

MURPHYJUNK Feb. 6, 2012 @ 8:22 a.m.

I think its more like the lawyers ( in cases involving big money) talk it over at a bar and decide how to prolong the case and pick both parties clean to the bone.

0

Ponzi Feb. 3, 2012 @ 9:56 p.m.

I just had a flashback! It’s resonating in my head. “Call me, Sam Spital.”

0

SurfPuppy619 Feb. 4, 2012 @ 3:36 a.m.

Sam Spital! Then Sam lost his malpractice lawsuit to Patrick Frega who was also disbarred. When Spital was sued, 20+ years ago, he was the second highest attorney TV advertiser in America. Only a guy in FL beat him out (Luis Robles??).

And Pat Frega, after he was disbarred, worked for Bill Lerach who is now disbarred-what a crazy web that is.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 4, 2012 @ 7:43 a.m.

Yes, Frega got caught showering favors on a judge. But when John Moores showered favors on a councilwoman, including money, Moores got off completely. Best, Don Bauder

0

Don Bauder Feb. 4, 2012 @ 7:40 a.m.

Ah yes, Sam Spital. Similarities abound. Best, Don Bauder

0

MURPHYJUNK Feb. 4, 2012 @ 8:20 a.m.

Looks like Steigerwalt's teflon if wearing off.

As for the bar assn. ( sorry to use this again) its like a dog sniffing its own behind.

0

SurfPuppy619 Feb. 4, 2012 @ 9:38 a.m.

The State Bar Court is and always will be a joke, and that is a direct result of the California Supreme Court's refusal to supervise it or give solid guidelines and guidance.

0

Don Bauder Feb. 4, 2012 @ 3:30 p.m.

Sounds like it's analogous to the Securities and Exchange Commission. It's weak because Congress wants it weak. Best, Don Bauder

0

Don Bauder Feb. 4, 2012 @ 3:28 p.m.

I think Steigerwalt may be in trouble this time. Best, Don Bauder

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close