Updated With Audio of Warren’s Admission — Professor’s Bombshell Charge: Elizabeth Warren Practiced Law in Mass. Without a License
Here’s the audio of the radio interview where Warren acknowledges that she is not a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
In an emailed statement to TheBlaze, the author of the Legal Insurrection article, William A. Jacobson, responds to critics who claim his charge doesn’t hold because Warren practiced at the federal level:
It has nothing to do with federal versus state. As detailed in my post, in order to maintain an office for the practice of law or to practice law in Massachusetts, one needs to be licensed in Massachusetts. Separately and in addition, one must comply with rules for admission of attorneys in whatever courts one practices. So a Massachusetts lawyer practicing law in Massachusetts but appearing in a case in Texas, would have to be licensed in Massachusetts and comply with whatever rules the Texas court has on admission of attorneys.
During an interview on Boston’s 96.9 FM radio show “Jim & Margery” Monday morning, Warren flatly stated that she is not a member of the Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She also maintains that she doesn’t practice law in the Bay State.
“I have the weirdest things from a guy who says he’s your biggest supporter but says he got an email this morning saying something about — and he’s nervous about this — you resigned from the Jersey bar in the last two weeks and you’re not admitted to the Massachusetts bar. What is that about? Is that true and what’s that have to do with anything?” asked host Jim Braude.
“I’ve been inactive in the New Jersey bar for a very, very long time and they had changes in their Continuing Legal Education and I couldn’t go down to New Jersey and take –” Warren started to respond.
“Are you not admitted to the bar in Massachusetts?” asked Braude.
“You’re not admitted?”
“Don’t you practice?”
“Oh, you don’t. Okay,” Braude said sounding somewhat surprised.
However, as this story continues to unfold, here’s an important point to consider [via a veteran lawyer who wrote National Review’s Jim Geraghty]:
The [Legal Insurrection] post indicates that this is a federal case. You do not need to be licensed to practice law in Massachusetts to practice law in federal courts located in Massachusetts or anywhere else. Federal courts decide who can practice before them, and individual states can’t tell federal courts that an attorney cannot practice before them. It’s that whole supremacy clause thing. Constitution 101 and all that.
It is really well established that a federal district court can admit an attorney to practice before it even if the attorney is not licensed in that state. You most certainly do not need to be licensed in the state where a federal court of appeals sits to appear before the federal court of appeals. I am clearly practicing law when I argue before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. It does not matter that I am not licensed in Ohio.
The blurb also mentions taking the case to the US Supreme Court. I have submitted an amicus brief in the United States Supreme Court on a case that originated in West Virginia state courts even though I am not licensed to practice there. I was not practicing law without a license when I did so because I was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court.
But also bear in mind the following [via another veteran lawyer who wrote NRO]:
I have practiced law for 30 years. Your correspondent is correct that a federal court can permit an attorney from a state outside the state wherein the federal court sits to appear before that court. The practice is called “pro hac vice,” which is Latin for “for this occasion.” Here are the pro hac vice requirements for the District Court of Mass, which would be the relevant court in this case.
However, this does not conclude the issue. There would still need to be an attorney licensed in Mass. who moved for Ms. Warren to be admitted pro hac vice for the case at hand. Such a document would have to be in the docket of the case as to which she was representing her client. If Ms. Warren simply filed pleadings without first being admitted to the court pro hac vice, she would be implicitly representing to the court that she was, in fact, licensed to practice in Mass., and if she was not so licensed, she would have violated the court’s rules, and, in effect, have committed a fraud upon the court.
The Warren campaign has not yet responded to TheBlaze’s request for comment.
Original story below.
It looks like Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren’s credibility may take a turn for the worse, and this time it has nothing to do with her claims of Native American heritage.
According to Associate Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell Law School William A. Jacobson, Warren practiced law in Massachusetts without a license.
Here’s how he explains it.
During their senate debate last week, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) “hammered” Warren over her private legal representation of The Travelers Insurance Company in an asbestos-related case.
“Warren attempted to deny her role, and referred to a Boston Globe article, but the Globe article supports Brown’s account,” Jacobson reports.
“The Globe article indicated the representation was for a period of three years and Warren was paid $212,000. The case resulted in a Supreme Court victory for Travelers arising out of a bankruptcy case in New York,” he adds.
But that’s not all.
“Warren represented not just Travelers, but numerous other companies starting in the late 1990s working out of and using her Harvard Law School office in Cambridge, which she listed as her office of record on briefs filed with various courts,” Jacobson notes.
“Warren, however, never has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts,” he adds.
Here’s part of what his investigation turned up [via Legal Insurrection, his blog]:
Warren is not licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. Warren’s name does not turn up on a search of the Board of Bar Overseers attorney search website (searches just by last name or using Elizabeth Herring also do not turn up any relevant entries).
I confirmed with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers by telephone that Warren never has been admitted to practice in Massachusetts. I had two conversations with the person responsible for verifying attorney status. In the first conversation the person indicated she did not see any entry for Warren in the computer database, but she wanted to double check. I spoke with her again several hours later, and she indicated she had checked their files and also had spoken with another person in the office, and there was no record of Warren ever having been admitted to practice in Massachusetts.
Warren’s own listing of her Bar admissions is consistent with not being licensed in Massachusetts. In a June 25, 2008 CV Warren listed only Texas and New Jersey.
Warren’s Texas Bar information indicates she is not eligible to be licensed in Texas, but does not indicate when she went on that inactive status. Consistent with our finding that Warren was not admitted in Massachusetts, Warren listed only one other place of admission on her Texas record, New Jersey:
Warren, however, is not currently licensed in New Jersey:
While the date of termination of her New Jersey license is not on the website, telephone inquiries to the New Jersey Board of Bar Examiners and the New Jersey Lawyers Fund For Client Protection indicated that Warren resigned her license on September 11, 2012 (one of the people remarked to me “that’s a memorable day”). It’s odd that in the middle of a campaign Warren would take the time to resign her New Jersey Bar membership, particularly since she would have to retake the Bar exam to be readmitted.
Neither office in New Jersey could state whether her license was continuously active until her resignation because the computer only shows the current status, so I have made the request in writing as instructed. By resigning her New Jersey license earlier this month, Warren made it more difficult for the public to determine her pre-resignation status.
By all available information, Warren never has been licensed in Massachusetts, but at varying times has had active law licenses in Texas and New Jersey, although currently she is not licensed in either jurisdiction. It is unclear whether during the years she represented Travelers and others Warren was actively licensed anywhere.
And this just a part of his investigation. There is much, much more where that came from.
Jacobson’s main point is this: Warren may have violated two provisions of Massachusetts law by a) using her Cambridge office for practicing law without a license and b) actually practicing law without a license. If this is true, and as mentioned in the beginning of this article, Warren’s credibility may take a huge hit — and Sen. Brown will no doubt profit.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
Front page photo source courtesy the AP. This story has been updated.
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