As thoroughly researched by Cornell Law Professor ( and conservative blogger) William Jacobson, Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren practiced law in her Cambridge, Massachusetts office for more than a decade without ever being licensed to practice law in that state. His findings are here.
I’m sure non-lawyer Democrats in Massachusetts will want to dismiss this as a mere technical violation, but it is not. Practicing law without a license is grounds for disbarment, and disbarment means that you are dishonest and untrustworthy, something U.S. Senators should not be. It is also, as Prof. Jacobson definitively shows, a violation of Massachusetts law. Meanwhile, Harvard Law School, where Warren teaches, emphatically cautions its students against unauthorized practice.
Warren has yet to respond to these allegations, but they are serious and convincing, and if accurate, compel certain conclusions:
- Warren’s Cherokee heritage deceptions, as I suspected, were not an aberrational quirk, but rather a symptom of core ethical deficits.
- She is arrogant beyond words. She had to know that she was not licensed, and that it was a serious infraction to hold herself out as a lawyer in a jurisdiction where she was not authorized to practice law. Or, in the alternative…
- …she is too sloppy and disorganized to trust in any position of responsibility. It must be one or the other.
- She is unqualified for high political office, and
- If she really did engage in the unauthorized practice of law, she is an idiot. There is, literally, no excuse for this violation of basic legal ethics, not for ten years.
- Anyone who votes for a politician with a prior record of irresponsibility, dishonesty and misrepresentation for ideological reasons, ignoring competence, integrity and character, should be ashamed of himself, and I don’t care if that politician is running against a pet rock. Massachusetts voters should insist that Warren show that Prof. Jacobson is mistaken.
UPDATE: The General Counsel of the Board of Bar Overseers has weighed in on Warren’s side, as have her Harvard colleagues and many of the worthies at the Legal Ethics Forum. Hopefully, the questions Prof. Jacobson raises will be answered thoroughly, the main one being whether any of Warren’s legal activity was not in Federal court.
UPDATE 2: A commenter on the National Review online notes that to practice before the Massachusetts District Court, Warren was required, as a non-bar member, to be sponsored by a Mass Bar member in good standing. If she was not, then she misrepresented herself to the court. The sponsoring member should be on the case docket. This would be easy to check.
UPDATE 3: A new Ethics Alarms post here…
Facts: Prof. Jacobson
Graphic: Dig Boston
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