Immigration attorney suspended again for unauthorized practice of law

An Indianapolis attorney already on probation following a suspension will have to serve the remaining balance of her suspended time after she was found to have practiced law while under a reciprocal suspension order.

Patricia Rios was disciplined in April 2021 for representing clients in an immigration matter after being fired for noncommunication. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended her for 90 days, with 30 days served and the remainder stayed subject to completion of a probation period of at least 545 days.

In January, the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission filed a motion to revoke Rios’ probation, asserting she had committed the unauthorized practice of law, in violation of Indiana Professional Conduct Rule 5.5(a), by filing four appearances with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency. At the time, she was under an order of reciprocal suspension imposed by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals.

Rios filed a verified supplemental response maintaining she signed three of the appearances before she became aware of the reciprocal suspension order. But she admitted she signed the fourth appearance and had all four appearances mailed after she learned of the order.

The Supreme Court issued an order Feb. 24 granting the commission’s motion in In the Matter of: Patricia L. Rios, 20S-DI-312.

Beginning April 7, Rios will be suspended from practicing law for 60 days without automatic reinstatement. Also, she is barred from undertaking any new legal matters from now until the time her suspension begins, and she is required to fulfill all the duties of a suspended attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26).

At the end of the 60-day period, Rios may petition for reinstatement if she has paid the costs of the proceeding, fulfilled the duties of a suspended attorney and satisfied the requirements for reinstatement of Admission and Discipline Rule 23(18).

All justices concurred.

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