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Court issues UPL ruling about 'general counsel'

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Indiana Lawyer Disciplinary Actions


A top executive of Celadon Group Inc. can no longer represent himself as the Indianapolis-based trucking company's attorney because of a glaring omission - he is not licensed to practice law in Indiana.

Kenneth L. Core, who used the title of "vice president of risk management and general counsel" in letters and electronic correspondence, is prohibited from practicing in the state until he obtains a law license, according to a March 12, 2010, Indiana Supreme Court order.

Core, who earned $191,584 in total compensation last year, is Celadon's fifth-highest-paid executive, according to the company's most recent proxy statement. His formal title is vice president and secretary.

The Supreme Court order stems from an Oct. 22 filing from the state's Disciplinary Commission alleging Core had engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

Core agreed to a settlement, in which he is prohibited from "holding himself out as 'counsel,' 'general counsel,' or any other title suggesting his status as an attorney licensed in Indiana to provide legal advice and legal services ... unless and until such time as he obtains a license to practice law in Indiana."

He formerly practiced law in Iowa between 1975 and 1993. The state suspended his law license in 1993 for failing to pay the annual license fee and for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements, the Supreme Court order said.

Core admitted to the Disciplinary Commission that he is not licensed to practice in Indiana and provided evidence that Celadon was aware that he lacked the credentials to do so.

Paul Will, Celadon's vice chairman and chief financial officer, referred to Core's mistake as a "misunderstanding."

"The resolution is that he just needs to get his CLE credits in Iowa so that he can get his Indiana [law] license," he said. "It's kind of a slap-on-the-wrist formality."

Will further said that an individual who had a dispute with the company pressed the issue and filed the complaint.

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