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Court reprimands attorneys for trade-name use

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Three attorneys who practiced separately but advertised as an LLC were publicly reprimand by the Indiana Supreme Court for violating several Indiana Professional Conduct Rules by not letting clients know they didn't practice law as a firm.

The Supreme Court combined the disciplinary actions against J. Michael Loomis, Robert A. Grubbs, and Robert J. Wray into one order posted May 8 and agreed a public reprimand was the appropriate discipline for violating Rules 7.2(b), and 7.5(a) and (b). The sanction was consistent with discipline imposed in other cases involving misleading attorney communications.
 
Loomis, Grubbs, and Wray, along with another attorney who is not a respondent in this action, formed "Attorneys of Aboite, LLC," named after a township in Allen County. The three represented clients individually and didn't practice as a firm; all three used the names "Attorneys of Aboite, LLC" and "Attorneys of Aboite" in professional documents, communications, advertisements, signage, telephone directory listings, and a Web site without revealing they didn't practice law as a firm.

The State Board of Law Examiners never issued a certificate of registration for those names; the attorneys stopped using the name in October 2008.

The Supreme Court found the attorneys' use of "Attorneys of Aboite, LLC" and "Attorneys of Aboite" to be improper because a lawyer in private practice shall not practice under a trade name. The use of "LLC" implied that the attorneys were practicing law together as a LLC and not as individuals just sharing office facilities. Using an LLC in a name implies the LLC maintains adequate professional liability insurance or other forms of adequate financial responsibility for the protections of clients and that the State Board of Law Examiners investigated the LLC and certified it, according to the order.

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  1. in a lawyer discipline case Judge Brown, now removed, was presiding over a hearing about a lawyer accused of the supposedly heinous ethical violation of saying the words "Illegal immigrant." (IN re Barker) http://www.in.gov/judiciary/files/order-discipline-2013-55S00-1008-DI-429.pdf .... I wonder if when we compare the egregious violations of due process by Judge Brown, to her chiding of another lawyer for politically incorrectness, if there are any conclusions to be drawn about what kind of person, what kind of judge, what kind of apparatchik, is busy implementing the agenda of political correctness and making off-limits legit advocacy about an adverse party in a suit whose illegal alien status is relevant? I am just asking the question, the reader can make own conclsuion. Oh wait-- did I use the wrong adjective-- let me rephrase that, um undocumented alien?

  2. of course the bigger questions of whether or not the people want to pay for ANY bussing is off limits, due to the Supreme Court protecting the people from DEMOCRACY. Several decades hence from desegregation and bussing plans and we STILL need to be taking all this taxpayer money to combat mostly-imagined "discrimination" in the most obviously failed social program of the postwar period.

  3. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  4. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  5. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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