The State Bar of California obtained an interim court order to aid the clients of a Los Angeles based law practice that was operating without proper authority.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court order allowed the State Bar to seize client documents and files from the office of Jessica Godoy Ramos. Ramos’ bogus legal practice was based in Lynwood, California.
Ramos solicited clients to represent them in immigration matters. But Ramos, who was posing as a lawyer from New York State, has never been a licensed lawyer in any state, collected fees and said she would represent immigrant clients. Ultimately, she misled approximately 80 separate clients in that she said she was a lawyer.
The State Bar of California will attempt to return seized client files or documents to Ramos’ former clients and inform them that it may be in their best interest to seek other legal counsel. Former clients should contact the State Bar directly at (213) 765-1727 to inquire whether any of the seized documents or files belong to them. Multilingual interpretation is available.
The State Bar of California has a dedicated unit to investigate and address the unauthorized practice of law, including those who give unlicensed legal advice and other people posing as attorneys.
Immigration consultants are allowed to translate answers to questions on state or federal forms, obtain copies of supporting documents and refer their clients to legal representation. But immigration consultants can’t represent them in court, however, or provide specific legal advice. If they do, they could be prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of law.
Some people use the term notario, which is prohibited in California.
If an attorney practices law while their licensed is suspended or they are disbarred, it is also considered the unauthorized practice of law.
People can file unauthorized practice of law complaint with the State Bar against a non-attorney who is providing unlicensed legal services. There is no cost to file a complaint. U.S. citizenship is not required to file a complaint and the State Bar will not ask about citizenship or immigration status.
Additional State Bar resources for consumers:
• File a complaint about the unauthorized practice of law
(complaint forms are available in six languages)
• Look up an attorney to check if they are licensed
• Avoid fraud by unauthorized legal providers
• Multilingual State Bar legal resources for consumers