Can a suspended attorney represent himself in court?

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Can a suspended attorney represent himself in court?

Asked on June 16, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

J.V., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

of course a suspended attorney can represent himself in court. just as any individual is entitled to represent himself an attorney who is suspended has the same right. The only issue is that they will be representing himself as would another individual who is not an attorney. To appear in Court as an attorney is such a capacity would not be possible if suspended.

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

This is an interesting question.  Every citizen has the abilityto represent him or her self on a pro se basis.  However, there certain things only attorneys can do, such as sign pleadings and/or take depositions.  My knee-jerk reaction to your question is that a suspended attorney can represent  himself on a pro se basis, but cannot represent that he is an attorney while representing himself.  I do not see any reason why an individual cannot represent themself on a pro se basis just because he or she happens to be a lawyer with a suspended licence  In other words, having your license suspended should put you on par with non-attorneys, not put you at a level below them.  On the other hand, the suspended attorney who represents himself on a pro se basis should do so very cautiously, as any sanctions or misconduct may affect his or her pending suspension.  Moreover, there may be specific conditions of the suspension that prevents the attorney from appearing in court or acting in a lawyer in any capacity.  Nevertheless, if you feel that an attorney is acting unethically you should contact your state bar association ethics board and/or consult and/or retain an attorney who is experienced in the area of professional ethics.


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