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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. Bob Stochel was opposing counsel to me in several federal cases (including a jury trial before Judge Tinder) here in SDIN. He is a very competent defense and trial lawyer who knows federal civil procedure and consumer law quite well. Bob gave us a run for our money when he appeared on a case.

  2. Awesome, Brian! Very proud of you and proud to have you as a partner!

  3. Oh, the name calling was not name calling, it was merely social commentary making this point, which is on the minds of many, as an aside to the article's focus: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100111082327AAmlmMa Or, if you prefer a local angle, I give you exhibit A in that analysis of viva la difference: http://fox59.com/2015/03/16/moed-appears-on-house-floor-says-hes-not-resigning/

  4. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  5. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

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