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Justices find attorney practicing law after resignation

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The Indiana Supreme Court has fined Brian L. Nehrig $1,000 and extended his ban from practice after finding he committed the unauthorized practice of law. Nehrig resigned from the bar in 2007, and he was sentenced in 2010 after pleading guilty to mail fraud.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission charged Nehrig with engaging in a pattern of fraudulent practices in representing a mortgage company in foreclosure actions, including his alteration of sheriff's deeds. Nehrig worked as a foreclosure attorney doing work for Citifinancial in 2005 and 2006. Nehrig sometimes set up side deals with friends and associates to buy properties at sheriff’s sales, and he did not send Citifinancial the profits. Citifinancial lost $66,000 from Nehrig’s scheme, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission began investigating Nehrig, and he was initially suspended, but later tendered his resignation in August 2007. The FBI charged him with mail fraud in October 2009, to which he pleaded guilty. He received three years of probation.

But after his resignation, he rented space at the law office of John R. McManus Jr. and was included in a staff photo on the firm’s website. Nehrig’s primary focus was facilitating “short sales” of real estate, but he performed other work outside of the office, including tax issues. He also opened a checking account in the name of “Brian Nehrig d/b/a/ McManus & Associates” without McManus’ knowledge.

“In violation of his resignation from the bar, Nehrig worked in a law office and he engaged in activities that crossed the line into the practice of law, some of which were in the very field—real estate transactions—in which the charges leading to his resignation occurred. By using a bank account with the d/b/a of a law firm and directing third parties to make checks out for him using a law firm name, Nehrig held himself out as an attorney,” Chief Justice Brent Dickson wrote in the Sept. 7 disciplinary order.

“Nehrig's violation of the order accepting his resignation was on-going, pervasive, and deliberate, and it exposed the public to the danger of misconduct by Nehrig, who has yet to prove his remorse, rehabilitation, and fitness to practice law through the reinstatement process. See Admis. Disc. R. 23(4)(b). Under these circumstances, the Court concludes that a substantial fine and an extension of his removal from practice is warranted.”

Nehrig has 60 days from September 7 to pay the fine.

McManus was also disciplined as a result his assistance “albeit indirectly” in Nehrig’s unauthorized practice of law. The justices instituted a public reprimand. McManus said he didn’t believe Nehrig was crossing the line into the practice of law in his short sale work and didn’t know of Nehrig’s improper outside activities. He wanted to help Nehrig make a living after his resignation, and McManus has no disciplinary history.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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