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Bar Gives Shames Warning Letter

The State Bar of California has issued Michael Shames, head of Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), a warning letter for identifying himself as an attorney when he was an inactive member of the bar.

Shames had dropped out of the bar but listed himself as an attorney on California Public Utilities Commission documents, on UCAN's website, and in books in which he gave legal advice to readers. A whistleblower inside UCAN complained to the bar. After the complaint was filed, Shames renewed his membership in the bar.

"Mr. Shames will be required to attend State Bar Ethics School," says a letter from bar investigator. The warning letter "is not discipline and cannot be considered evidence of professional misconduct."

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The State Bar of California has issued Michael Shames, head of Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), a warning letter for identifying himself as an attorney when he was an inactive member of the bar.

Shames had dropped out of the bar but listed himself as an attorney on California Public Utilities Commission documents, on UCAN's website, and in books in which he gave legal advice to readers. A whistleblower inside UCAN complained to the bar. After the complaint was filed, Shames renewed his membership in the bar.

"Mr. Shames will be required to attend State Bar Ethics School," says a letter from bar investigator. The warning letter "is not discipline and cannot be considered evidence of professional misconduct."

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Comments
8

Don, how did you learn of this?

Dec. 6, 2011

C'mon, SP, journalists don't reveal their sources. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 6, 2011

OK, just curious b/c it was not on his public bar listing.

Dec. 6, 2011

Remember, the letter is not considered discipline. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2011

Well if ti is a "warning letter" then it is a form of discipline, whether they call it that or not.

I personally didn't think it was wrong.

Dec. 7, 2011

I know you didn't think it was wrong. But take just one point: Shames had long since resigned from the bar when he submitted an amicus brief to the appellate court. It only got him a wrist slap, but he should have known better. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 7, 2011

Shames rejoined the bar.

Dec. 6, 2011

Yes, I reported some time ago that Shames had rejoined the bar. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 6, 2011

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