ABA Journal


Legal Ethics

Disbarred Law Grad Can’t Use ‘JD’ After His Name, Judge Rules

Jan 20, 2011, 12:56 pm CST


This seems potentially infirm, as there should be a way to craft the order to enjoin or punish fraud without forbidding what is a completely accurate use of "J.D."

By B. McLeod on 2011 01 20, 1:12 pm CST

Agreed, McLeod. Unless the university rescinded his degree, he is a J.D. I could see an order that would require him to add a disclaimer stating that he was not admitted to practice law whenever he uses the J.D., but completely prohibiting it seems unreasonable. I understand that he should be sanctioned if he engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, but that is another matter again.

By T.C.A. on 2011 01 20, 2:00 pm CST

C'mon...i bet he was only trying to let everyone know he had been a Juvenile Delinquent

By La Doctora on 2011 01 20, 3:23 pm CST

what an absurd ruling

By barely enough on 2011 01 20, 3:33 pm CST

I have not read the ruling or the original order, but agree that if he earned the degree than he should be allowed to acknowledge that fact just as others do. Given his alleged (adjudicated) misuse, then he could maybe be required to add the words "(non practicing)."

By An Ohio lawyer on 2011 01 20, 3:42 pm CST

Mr. Brown was physically before the Ohio Supreme Court 20 Jan 2011.
The issue of →HIS← use of J.D. was discussed.
I've not read the Fed decision, but hope it is limited to use of J.D. to deceive another.

Jim in Ohio,
J.D. (Just Dumb),
JAG, (Just Another Guy),
NE² (NESQ or Non_Esq.)
JAGLO (Just Another Guy's Lay Opinion)
FAFTBFJFA (Fake Attorney for Fake Trauma, for Bribing Fake Judges for Fake Awards)☺

By 6. Jim-OH 2011-01-21 11:31 ─0500 ⌠Brown⌡ on 2011 01 20, 4:41 pm CST

McLeod: if the use of the term "J.D." is necessarily deceitful to the reasonable person, then ruling is not overbroad? In what context could someone read a business card with "J.D." after the name and not conclude that the person named on the card is a lawyer? I can't imagine anyone not drawing that conclusion unless they are unfamiliar with the term "J.D." but the common meaning of "J.D." is "lawyer," no?

By Jim-nyc on 2011 01 20, 4:52 pm CST

¶ I know Ms. Lori J. Brown, Esq., a highly skilled attorney, Chief Assistant Disciplinary Counsel
¶ She is #2 in chain of command at the Ohio's Office of the Disciplinary Counsel
¶ I have many faults, but among those faults is <B>NOT</B> the thought of tangling with Ms. Brown
¶ I have personally witnessed her expertise before a three member hearing panel.
¶ Seeing her in action easily explains why she is #2 on the DC's Table of Organization! ‼
(NO, not Esquire, but
Ever So Quasimodo, NEVER Licensed in ANY Jurisdiction
▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬

Description : Case No. 02-1380/ 08-1573 Disciplinary Counsel v. Bruce A. Brown (AKA B. Andrew Brown, AKA Amir Jamal Tauwab)

Date : 01-19-2011 ♣ Format : Flash Video ♣ Duration : 00:25:41

Case No. 02-1380/ 08-1573 Disciplinary Counsel v. Bruce A. Brown (AKA B. Andrew Brown, AKA Amir Jamal Tauwab)

<iframe src='' width='482px' height='396px' frameborder='0' scrolling='no'></iframe>

By 7. Jim-OH 2011-01-21 11:31 ─0500 ⌠Video 20 Jan on 2011 01 20, 5:17 pm CST

When I see someone using J.D. following their name I assume that they graduated law school but failed to pass the bar exam. I do not recall seeing a lawyer use J.D. following his/her name. Bottom line - he earned the degree and therefore he should be able to use J.D. following his name. If he continues to practice law, then he can be punished for so doing.

By David R. LeRoy on 2011 01 20, 5:24 pm CST

My first thought was to agree that he should be allowed to use it, until I read in the article that "He has used the term to [convince] others, including a federal judge and city prosecutor, that he was an attorney." If the evidence shows that he has used the degree to create the false impression he is an attorney, and it is limited to the facts of his case as opposed to being of general applicability to all non-attorney JD's, then the decision seems reasonable as applied to him.

By Mr. Ed on 2011 01 20, 5:48 pm CST


10. Mr. Ed 20 Jan 2011 11:48 AM CST
" ... it is limited to the facts of his case as opposed to being of general applicability to all non-attorney JD’s, then the decision seems <B><I>reasonable as applied to him</I></B>."

By 7. Jim-OH 2011-01-21 11:31 ─0500 ⌠Agree 100%⌠on 2011 01 20, 6:25 pm CST

for crying out loud, if he was 'practicing law without a license' then charge him with something. But if he holds himself out as holding a degree that he holds and people imput a profession to him, that's not his problem. And even if he's disbarred, does that mean that he cannot speak knowing of the law (short of giving legal advice)? We don't have to be practicing to be knowledgable.

By barely enough on 2011 01 20, 6:28 pm CST

From the linked report:

In today’s decision, the Court adopted findings by the Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law that Brown used business cards and stationery listing himself as “B. Andrew Brown, Esq.” and identifying his business as “B. Andrew Brown & Associations, L.L.C.” to mislead others into believing that he was a licensed attorney. The Court agreed with the board’s findings that Brown accepted fees from and gave legal advice to five persons who believed he was an attorney; prepared and filed legal documents in various courts on behalf of those persons; and represented himself to other attorneys, courts and other parties in those cases as the legal representative of his “clients.”

In imposing the maximum $10,000 civil penalty for each of Brown’s five current violations, the Court noted Brown’s flagrant disregard of its 2003 injunction for similar conduct, his continued involvement in “a pattern of deception and chicanery,” and the significant harm he caused to several of the persons who trusted him as their attorney by abandoning or mishandling their legal matters.


I don't think this is someone who should get the benefit of the doubt, and in a fact situation like this, overbreadth stops being a concern to me.

By Mr. Ed on 2011 01 20, 7:13 pm CST

To me, a layman, her ruling appears limited, to apply to Mr. Brown and HIS conduct.

By 14. Jim-OH 2011-01-21 14:19 ─0500 ⌠Limited⌡ on 2011 01 20, 7:19 pm CST

Then the whole matter of the use of 'JD' was extraneous and shouldn't have been in the order. It's one thing to hammer someone for unauthorized legal representation, and another to muddy an otherwise perfectly reasonable disciplinary action with silliness.

By barely enough on 2011 01 20, 7:30 pm CST

Would someone kindly explain to me why he cannot use Esq./Esquire? Does it have any legal meaning? Sure attorneys use it, but it is exclusive or copyrighted?

Seems to me it is only an old English term that means taking on the manners of a gentleman. Both Bugs Bunny and his creator, Chuck Jones, added Esq. after their names.

Avocado Pit, Esq.

By Avacado Pit on 2011 01 20, 10:37 pm CST

how about J.D.-Disbarred . . . or J.D. not licensed . . .
beauty is n the eye of the beholder -.- as aparently is the J.D. ( degree) invalid ?.?.?
How you represent yourself, your mannerism in court, your demenaor, your intellect -.- and you need a ?????
and you are not identified as a ?????? in court -.- WOW - J.D. John doe - not educated in the - - - - - - -
surprise, surprise, surprise is always fun -.- in court and elsewhere

By William Bednarz on 2011 01 21, 12:44 am CST

The only time I can recall seeing "JD" after someone's name is if they were in academia. As in:

John Snodgrass, J.D., MBA, Ph.D.

By BMF on 2011 01 21, 1:10 am CST

It does not matter that the ruling is limited to this case. He earned the license and is not violating the bases upon which the license, J.D. was issued. If one is to apply the same reasoning as used by the court, if he used his car to promote his practice of law, the ruling would include revoking his license to operate a motor vehicle. It makes no sense. Punish him repeatedly for his practicing law without a license. If the penalty appears to be worth the risk so he continues to re-offend with no indication that he will cease, then order that on any and all business advertisements, including business cards, that he indicates that he is not licensed to practice law.

By David R. LeRoy on 2011 01 21, 1:35 am CST

I think that would be MBA, JD, Ph.D.
I think he earned the degree, he is JD. At least until his school revokes his degree.
When we were in law school there was some business about the distinction between being an attorney and being a lawyer, one implying licensure and the other not. I don't remember the details.

By Just the facts, Ma'am on 2011 01 21, 4:52 am CST

It seems the punishment is the same whether the defendant is a law school grad or not. That is, the use of JD is irrelevant to the issue of deception unless it can be used to prove intent. Which begs the question of whether the State Bar has jurisdiction in this case. Seems the State should prosecute, not the Bar. Evidently, the State determined that since the Defendant was in fact a law school grad that he could not be prosecuted for anything other than the Unauthorized Practice of Law. Haven't read the case, don't have all the facts.

By hiwaves on 2011 01 21, 12:15 pm CST

It can be illegal, under the Lanham Act, to make a literally true but in practice misleading statement of fact. People who dislike the ruling under discussion here should explain how they would distinguish it from decades of Lanham Act precedents, or else come out and say that they'd overturn those precedents.

By Seamus on 2011 01 21, 2:05 pm CST

Although a contrary example might be one in the current film, "The King's Speech." In that movie, Lionel Lough has an office in Harley Street, London, and the sign on his door says "Lionel Lough, Speech Defects." Lough takes on Bertie, Duke of York, and afterwards King George VI, as a patient and works to cure the duke's stutter. At a climactic moment, on the eve of Bertie's coronation as king, Bertie learns that Lough has no professional training and no license, and it angry at what he believes to be Lough's deception. Lough explains that he never claimed to the a physician (as even non-physicians can do business on Harley Street), never claimed to have any formal credentials, and never did more than advertise that he dealt with "Speech Defects." When Bertie realizes that Lough has in fact helped him "find his voice," the crisis passes, Bertie goes on to get crowned, and the stage is set for Bertie to become the beloved monarch who (aided by his loyal wife and loving and dutiful children (including the current queen) leads Britain through the dark days of the coming war.

By Seamus on 2011 01 21, 2:13 pm CST

"The only time I can recall seeing 'JD' after someone’s name is if they were in academia. As in:

"John Snodgrass, J.D., MBA, Ph.D. "

The only other time you see it is when the person is a law school graduate but has not been admitted to the bar (or, as in this case, has been disbarred). In fact, if you see it, say, on the cover of a book, identifying its author, you can be certain that the author is not, in fact, a lawyer, because otherwise the word "Esquire" would have appeared after his or her name. (Similarly, if you read a resume that says that the candidate "attended" Yale University; one thing you know for certain is that the candidate never graduated, because otherwise the resume would have said so.)

By Seamus on 2011 01 21, 2:19 pm CST

Can you use JD after your name if you never passed a bar exam and only work in academics?

By Karina on 2011 01 21, 2:24 pm CST

Yeah, but after escaping from his cage and thus, in his own mind, holding himself out to the public as "disbarred", Bugs Bunny ceased using "Esq" because he had read an ethics opinion on the unauthorized practice of law. Did he go too far? Perhaps, but that's the kind of wabbit he is.

By Chuck Lyons on 2011 01 21, 2:44 pm CST

J.D. is simply the acedemic Juris Doctorate degree an accredited law school confers upon graduation. Until someone passes a Bar exam, the J.D. law graduate is simply, and always, that: a J.D. In order to use "Esq." or "Attorney at Law", or "Lawyer", one must pass the Bar exam(s) and be LICENSED to practice law by the jurisdiction - typically first a state. Use of "J.D." might be misleading if someone who had been a licensed lawyer, but was disbarred, used it in COMMERCIAL CONTEXT. I know several J.D.s who went to work in the business side at Emerson Electric (Fortune 500) and Coin Accepters, and Express Scripts, and many who have joint MBA/JDs, but didn't keep their Bar memberships active, so the situation is more than just in academics. I think they are properly able to include their resume JD degrees without active Bar Membership for publication in annual stockholders election of Boards. I haven't read the opinions of the Ohio state and Fed courts, but a restriction to protect the public from misleading advertisements for services under the Lanham Act federally, and perhaps under similar state laws, would seem to be a reasonable restriction on "commercial" use of J.D.

By JR Hul on 2011 01 21, 2:44 pm CST

What about the situation where one does not become a member of the Bar and uses the initials after his or her name? Isn't that as deceitful? There was a cabinet secretary here in New Mexico who received her JD, used it after her name and inisted on being called "doctor".

By MIchael Schwarz on 2011 01 21, 2:49 pm CST

In Chicago, I believe that William "Doc" Walls is running for mayor. I think he has a JD but never passed the bar.

So Bruce can be Bruce "Doc" [doctor] Brown.

By Jody Lowenthal on 2011 01 21, 2:50 pm CST

I think the solution here is quite simple - he should be permitted to use the JD after his name but he should have DISBARRED tattooed across his forehead in large letters that way he will still be permitted to exercise his 1st Amendment rights without the risk of anyone being convinced that he is a licensed attorney!

By rgpennell on 2011 01 21, 3:10 pm CST

I passed the bar but outside of the Army Reserve I don't practice law. I use J.D. in my correspondence to confer to the lawyers I work with every day in my civilian job that I actually know what the heck I am talking about (most of the time). I never thought people took "J.D." "didn't pass the bar"... how embarrassing!

By Kevin on 2011 01 21, 3:21 pm CST

Sounds like a bad ruling. Truthfully putting J.D. after ones name, in my view, is protected free speech. Holding oneself out as a practicing attorney, however, is another issue altogether. A ruling linking the two as inextricably intertwined seems like bad precedent.

By JMK on 2011 01 21, 4:04 pm CST

On another note, my perception of people who write J.D. after their name is that they either have not passed the bar, are awaiting bar results or do not practice law and never took the bar.

By JMK on 2011 01 21, 4:06 pm CST

Ohio already bars non-Ohio attorneys from using "Esquire" after their name in Ohio when that attorney is workign in ohio. Case comes form a corp. counsel ethical violation a few yeras back.
Court also said it was ok to use J.D. after their name though.

By Bmac on 2011 01 21, 4:12 pm CST

For 20 years I've had clients tell me that they've received legal advice from their parents, kids, karate instructors, the list is endless. So, the court isn't protecting the public from deception or the unauthorized practice of law with this ruling. In this information age, the public is generally capable of quickly and easily determining who is licensed to practice and who is not. This is a ridiculously overbroad ruling that infringes on constitutionally protected accurate speech. This court is merely protecting its own state bar as an institution and furthering the collective institutional egos at the sacrifice of individual liberties. There is nothing "reasonable" about this ruling Mr. Ed.

By WRN on 2011 01 21, 4:14 pm CST

Or maybe passed the bar just to do it, but never renewed their license past the initial, as they never intended to practice law, but the degree was a springboard into something else.

By JME on 2011 01 21, 4:16 pm CST

I can tell you from an actual case that people who are not licensed attorneys use "Esq." and "JD" in order to have people believe they are practicing attorneys and it works, even with fairly sophisticated readers. While the people who are upset with this ruling may know what those letters mean most of the public does not. Given his history that ruling is not only appropriate but necessary.

By JC on 2011 01 21, 4:17 pm CST

In the U.S., the term "Esquire" is assumed amd not granted by any authority, so you don't need a J.D. or pass any state bar to use it.

By Bill S. Preston, Esq. on 2011 01 21, 4:19 pm CST

JC, your argument belies itself. If most of the public does not know what JD means then it is per se unreasonable to assume that "most of the public" will think that JD means the person is licensed to practice law in that jurisdiction. There are much less restrictive alternatives available that do not injure the first amendment than removing a legitimately earned educational designation. For instance, the appropriate State Bar could undertake a public awareness campaign to inform the public as to how to know if the person they are considering as an attorney is licensed to practice. Persons deceived by any such practice have their remedies available to them without restricting the use of an accurate educational designation. The applicable State Bar has its remedies available to it without restricting the use of an accurate educational designation: fines, sanctions, injunctive relief. This ruling does not pass constitutional muster in my analysis. I hope the person fights it.

By WRN on 2011 01 21, 4:30 pm CST

He can always use the title "Dr." because technically JD, MD, Ph.D are all "Doctors". At a place I worked at long ago there was an older executive who had a Ph.D and we all had to call him Dr. Joe. He got his degree in like literature because at the time he said only businesses in NYC would accept checks from doctors. I don't know if that was true or some ancient NYC practice. So does this ruling grant the court powers to stop anyone from also using BA, BS, MBA, MD, Ph.D after their name if they earned that degree? Hmm, maybe if he can't use JD then the law school should refund his tuition.

By Big G on 2011 01 21, 4:33 pm CST

"JD" is used on business cards and letterhead in several situations beyond that of a lawyer engaged in private practice, and should not connote the failure to pass a bar exam. Bank and commercial trust officers who have law degrees can (and do) use "JD" as well as "CTFA" and, maybe "CFA" or "CFP, and insurance agents with a law degree will use "JD" along with "CLU" and the other designations. A school administrator may use the "JD" as well as be called "Doctor", (although my own humble thought is that for a lawyer to be properly called "Doctor" she/he should have her/his JSD.) In any event, one using "JD" may be licensed to practice law, may have never taken the bar exam (perhaps going directly into an in-house position, or may have passed the bar, become licensed, but are inactive. Accountants may also have a law degree but practice only private accountancy and either not have taken a bar exam, or have passed it but had their license designated as "inactive." WAY too much reading negatives into the use of "JD." I think the court was certainly correct in firmly disciplining Brown, but it was wrong to bar (no pun intended) him from using the initials of a degree he earned. He can be punished for fraud and deception, maybe even enjoined, but I disgree with the "JD" ruling, and stroingly disagree with any implication that it should apply to any other law graduate who is not then currently licensed to practice law, for whatever reason.

By TG1974JD on 2011 01 21, 4:40 pm CST

Having researched UPL enforcement nationwide, I have found Ohio to be, by far, the most aggressive enforcer of UPL rules. This ruling is not surprising. My question is whether the general public regards JD as signifying an attorney in the same way MD (just a degree) signifies a licensed medical doctor? It should not matter what letters appear after your name as long as you are not performing a function you are not licensed to perform (legal/medical advice) or collecting fees.

By Mike Hawthorne on 2011 01 21, 4:41 pm CST

I can see how a court could decide to take away a right someone has earned through years of hard work and at great expense. Don't privileges and rights come with responsibilities? Isn't it irresponsible to use the credential "J.D." to garner clients when, in fact, you don't hold license to solicit clients?

People see a certain credential and make assumptions based upon years of perception that the credential implies licensure. A prime example out side of the law is M.D. When we see that, we assume the doctor is licensed to practice. However, in Wisconsin, for example, by statute, all that a person needs to use the M.D. credential is the degree. Licensing is not required. Yet, I and most others would assume M.D. meant the doctor is licensed.

All of my instructors hold law degrees. However, as I learned from one of them, they are not all lawyers/attorneys at law. I questioned why some use J.D. in their syllabi and others use licensed attorney, attorney at law, or lawyer. I was told, and I can only assume the accuracy of this, that many law professors and instructors are not attorneys although they hold the requisite degrees. In order to refer to themselves as attorneys or lawyers, they must hold the license. Again, I'm restating something from an instructor and I've never really checked its validity.

This made sense to me, so I looked through business cards I'd been given by numerous attorneys and most indicate either licensed attorney, attorney at law, or lawyer, while virtually none of them indicates the credential "J.D." on its own. This indicates there may have been problems with its usage in the past. Why else the added printing expenses?

So, although it may well be this person's right to use the credential, doing so irresponsibly should lead to losing the right. Maybe the licensure laws should indicate that licensed attorneys use the term "licensed attorney" on business solicitations. But, to most people, J.D. will still imply lawyer, regardless of the law. So, I'd have to side with the Court.

By Papa Beart on 2011 01 21, 4:47 pm CST

So is he prohibited from using "Dr." before his name, also?

By Netochka Nezvanova on 2011 01 21, 4:51 pm CST

There is nothing intrinsically misleading about attaching to the end of one's name initials designating earned degrees. If someone is practicing law without a license, the appropriate remedy is the issuance of an injunction prohibiting the unauthorized practice. The courts have a laundry list of penalties which may be imposed for violation of an injunction. The order in this case is overbroad.

By Mike Appleton on 2011 01 21, 4:53 pm CST

I disagree that the ruling, insfar as it prevents Mr. Brown from using the intials J.D. after his name. Unlike the term "Esquire" or the initials M.D., it is not "commonly understood" (which should be the litmus test) that person with J.D. attached to their name has any type of professional license. Since I limit my practice to state administrative law (primarily workers' compensation) and because lay representation is permitted in administrative law forums, I have no need to become a member of the bar (i.e. licensed to practice law). Most people assume (incorrectly) that I use the JD initials because I never passed the Bar Exam. However, nearly everyone I come in contact wtih realizes that J.D. is a clear indication that I am not a member of the bar. If that were not the case, I would put an asterick after the initials with a disclaimer : "not admitted to the State Bar." I would not, however, give the disclaimer that I am "not permitted to practice law" because non-attorney representation in an administrative law forum constitutes the "authorized practice of law by a non-attorney" (with some precedent for the application of the attorney-client privilege). At least in our state, the law only prohibits the "unauthorized practice of law." My J.D. designation works perfectly for me and I would hate for the judge's ruling to establish precedent that a non-attorney cannot use the initials J.D.

By Dan Escamilla J.D. on 2011 01 21, 4:53 pm CST

Wow, I've used "J.D." after my name since I graduated law school and am a member of multiple bars across the continent. This is the first I've ever heard that it meant I wasn't able to pass a bar exam. I've never had anyone ever question my credentials because of the use of the "J.D." I learned something new today.

By WRN on 2011 01 21, 5:00 pm CST

Wyld Stallyns rule!!!

By Bill S. Preston, Esq. on 2011 01 21, 5:10 pm CST

Wow, if they can take that away from us, what can't they take? As a recent graduate of a law school (and thus a proud J.D. recipient) I've been unable to find a job despite graduating from a school that advertised 90%+ employment rates upon graduation. With well over $200,000 worth of student loans, the only thing that keeps me going is the fact that I know I'm the smartest man in Sparta, because no Spartan had a J.D. degree.

This won't hold up upon whatever appeal is pending.

By Stephen James Howland, J.D. on 2011 01 21, 5:13 pm CST

J.D. = "judicially disbarred"?

I recall reading of a case once where a lawyer was disciplined after signing reports attesting to his client's medical condition as "Dr. John Smith, J.D."

I think this illustrates the importance of context. I haven't read the federal court's ruling, but my understanding is that the federal court refused to enjoin the state supreme court from barring an individual from using the designation after he repeatedly (on five occasions, as I recall) used terms such as "Esq.,", "J.D.", and "LLC" to swindle money from people by purporting to offer them legal services. In that context, I do not think the court violated his free speech rights by prohibiting him from using accurate information in a misleading manner, in light of his long record of doing exactly that despite the adjudication of several injunctions and sanctions against him.

By Mr. Ed on 2011 01 21, 5:27 pm CST

In California, only licensed physicians are allowed to use MD after their name. A disbarred doctor is no longer allowed to present himself to the public as an MD.

By CA DR on 2011 01 21, 5:29 pm CST

Why do so many people in this group post comments when they haven't even read the thing they're commenting about? Apparently no one prior to comment #10 bothered to click on the link and actually read the report on the case, which is clearly directed at this particular defendant's long history of trying to deceive courts and clients. It says nothing about the use of "J.D." or "Esq." by others.

Then, even though #10 clarified this, many of the 40-odd people who commented afterwards STILL didn't bother to read either the link or his comment. Assuming people here are actually lawyers [which in light of the posts sometimes seems doubtful], I hope you're more careful in things you write in your practice.

By Chris NYC on 2011 01 21, 5:36 pm CST

Just another example of fiat authority of the Courts to rule on issues over which they have no jurisdiction. A J.D. is awarded by a law school. Unless that J.D. is revoked or rescinded for some legally valid reason, it remains a proper designation. This is separate and distinct from a license to practice law which unfortunately remains within the somewhat arbitrary discretion of the Courts. This decision is just plain stupid.

By citizen 1 on 2011 01 21, 5:45 pm CST

If, after a person is warned in an earlier proceeding that his use of the "J.D." "Esq." and the like could be deceptive and might lead to additional action based on the unauthorized practice of law, that person proceeds to use the designations "J.D." and "Esq." to deceive others (including, apparently, a federal judge) into believing that he is a licensed attorney, which is the crux of this case, the court would be fully justified in issuing an injunction. The First Amendment has limits.

By Nick Katsonis on 2011 01 21, 5:46 pm CST

I think the ruling introduces a slippery slope to Consumer Protection. Possibly, the public would be better served if there was mandatory disclosure made that the person they were about to contract with had earned a Juris Doctorate. A consumer might wish to consult with a lawyer first to avoid being legally swindled due to the uneven knowledge of the legal effect of certain words. A holder of a JD could develop a 'Columbo' persona, so consumers would let their guard down.

By CA consumer protection lawyer on 2011 01 21, 5:49 pm CST

How is it deceitful for a person who has received a valid J.D. to represent that he has received a J.D.? Does the First Amendment somehow limit a person from truthfully and accurately representing the degrees he has received? Those of you (like the Judges who issued these rulings) should not be practicing law in this country if you do not respect the First Amendment rights of others. You are nothing but suck up slaves to authoritarianism.

By citizen 1 on 2011 01 21, 5:50 pm CST

Another reason people use JD is to use it in conjunction with other degrees or licenses, the most common of which is MD, JD, but also RN, DPM and others. I am among what I believe to be the majority which feels that "Esq." should be used by itself, if at all, and not in conjunction with degrees or licenses, so if someone wants (and is permitted by the jurisdiction's ethics rules) to display another degree or license as well, then JD would be used.

I agree with those who say that forbidding his use of JD seems to be a poorly crafted remedy. It would be very reasonable to require him to place a qualification such as "(not a lawyer)" next to, or immediately under, the JD (in the same typeface and size) any time that he did use JD. That would both address the issue of deceit.

Finally, re the issue of the public getting the "wrong impression," a pharmacist with a PharmD may properly wear a lab coat in the hospital and refer to herself as "doctor," as may a nurse with a DPH or DNS degree, a podiatrist or a dentist. The fact that in a given moment a patient may mistake that person for a physician (MD/DO) does not mean that they are being deceitful nor is it grounds for prohibiting them from using a title which they have earned.

By Peter B. on 2011 01 21, 6:06 pm CST

Can he not JD on his resume?
If he is asked, what degrees do you have, must he ignore the JD? Must he lie?

By yo on 2011 01 21, 6:07 pm CST

I have to ask, what does M.D. mean to anyone? After all, the same situation applies. There is a separate and distinct licensing board that issues the license to practice medicine despite someone having earned the degree. So say someone has their license to practice medicine pulled for some reason. Would you think it appropriate that they still sign things with M.D.? How short sighted are we?

By Fred Flinstone on 2011 01 21, 6:09 pm CST

In Britain, medical school graduates receive an MB degree (Bachelor of Medicine). Only when they pass the Medical Board exams do they get the right to use the MD designation.

By British view on 2011 01 21, 6:18 pm CST

In Eastern Europe, the 'JuDr' designation is commonplace. They do not seem to argue about this.

By CA consumer protection lawyer on 2011 01 21, 6:47 pm CST

I think the decision was a bit over-the-top, but I can understand the judge's rationale. Since this guy apparently used his Jurist Doctor degree as a stage prop in perpetrating a fraud against potential clients, he does not garner much sympathy with me.

By Arthur Silen, JD, LLM on 2011 01 21, 6:51 pm CST

@ # 48: I love you.

By Alleycat on 2011 01 21, 6:53 pm CST

If Judge Gaughan's ruling is followed to its conclusion, then a new law school graduate cannot use their titleof J.D. until they pass the bar exam and successfully complete the bar admissions process of their state.

Discipline problem or not, as previous posters have noted, it's up to the degree granting law school to rescind the miscreant lawyer's degee.

By John Smith on 2011 01 21, 7:51 pm CST

So I don't understand the issue. I'm dealing with an "ex CPA" who confessed to misrepresenting himself as a CPA for 20 years after he conveniently allowed his license to expire! The states attorney knows it, the judge knows it, and his own counsel now knows it because the confession is now on the court record. He had to be almost coerced into admitting it after arguing even with the judge for days about his "entitlement" to use the credential. His statement: "well, gee your honor. I got the accounting degree, passed the exams, and got the license. Once a CPA always a CPA, right??" He's still on the loose, insisting he's an accountant and even a CPA, and fiduciary in charge of the estate and trust of the victims he misrepresented is credentials to. So why hasn't THIS guy been prosecuted and put behind bars? If someone received a JD degree, then he's entitled to use it. Amazing at how lawyers will police themselves yet leave other professionals free to deceive others.

By victim One on 2011 01 21, 7:54 pm CST

It seems to me that if using "J.D." misleads people into believe that you're a licensed attorney, then no one should be able to use that designation unless they are licensed.

Seems to me they need to keep an eye on him and act if, and only if, he does something that constitutes practicing (or affirmatively represents that he is licensed to practice).

By John2510 on 2011 01 21, 8:01 pm CST

What if he puts "JK" after JD?

By fnlawyer on 2011 01 21, 8:25 pm CST

Here is some background on Mr. Brown

By 66. Jim-OH 2011-01-21 16:23 ─0500 ⌠backgroundâ on 2011 01 21, 9:25 pm CST

In my experience, those who sign themselves as "JD" instead of "Esq" or "Lic." (in Puerto Rico) are law school graduates who for whatever reason do not have a licence to practice law.

By GuilinExpat on 2011 01 21, 9:48 pm CST

to David R. LeRoy: You know what they say about making assumptions. I am 12 year lawyer and I just have taken on a new job at an academic institution as a lawyer, I am licensed to practice in three states and countless federal districts. My new employer delivered cards with "JD" after my name because it is not a law firm and not a government office where everyone is a lawyer. It is a way for them to distinguish me from other employees. So, your assumption that all JD's failed the bar is misplaced, insulting, and wrong. I took two bar exams (reciprocity on the third) and passed both on the first try.

By JD on 2011 01 21, 10:30 pm CST

Among faculty in academia, especially at universities that are more than just a law school, degrees are more important than licenses since the primary activity is typically research rather than practice. It is often necessary to list degrees (especially graduate ones) after one's name, but generally one does not list professional licenses whether acheived or not.

That said, I make it clear to my students and colleagues that I am not rendering them legal advice and that they should obtain their own attorney for legal matters, even though I maintain a bar membership. One does not want to inadvertently be drawn into an attorney-client relationship, and JDs in academia need to take care to avoid this whether licensed or not. However, the honest and savvy JD can avoid this risk without avoiding use of "JD".

By A law instructor In academia on 2011 01 21, 10:42 pm CST

After reading this guy's background, I would think that anybody holding a JD would be happy the Court ruled the way it did. They say one bad apple doesn't spoil the whole bunch, but this guy could've spoiled quite a few just by association. He created a lot of bad feelings toward lawyers by a lot of people by his actions.

Something I learned a long time ago when I was in the restaurant business, "You can serve 100 great meals and the only people who will know are those who ate them, but cook one bad meal, and the whole town will know! Nobody knows the cook's name, but everybody knows the restaurant." Guess what, the same is true for all of you - no matter how much good a lawyer does, very few will ever know it, but screw up, and everyone will. And nobody knows the lawyer's name, just that he or she was a lawyer.

By Papa Bear on 2011 01 21, 11:31 pm CST

I think it is interesting that no one has considered it is an issue on "intent." It sounds like Mr. Brown used the fact that he has a law degree with the intent to defraud, i.e., it is the instrumentality of the fraudulent conduct. As such, it would seem to me the Court, in this instance, clearly has a right to prevent Mr. Brown from using that instrument to continue to intentionally defraud people. An analogy maybe, if you use your car, and your driver's license which authorizes you to drive in the first place, to intentionaly commit a crime, say manslaughter, it would seem that the Court certainly would be within his/her right to take away a person's drivers license as a result, no? Even though you had a right to a Driver's license, you gave it up when you intentionally used it to commit a crime. Same thing here, no? Why does he get a pass because he legitimately obtained the J.D.?

By FAF on 2011 01 21, 11:32 pm CST

I like to believe that I am a huge fan of Amendment I.

Mr. Brown/Tauwab [B/T] is on the griddle in state court due to his apparent defiance of an older supreme court ruling and order.

I have not checked PACER, but he sued in Federal court to undo the JD sanction from the state court.

The meat of the ABA article is the district court's denial to reconsider its earlier ruling.

I'm addicted to routing for the underdog. B/T, IMLO, appears to be a predator to the public by his conduct. I suggest he is not an underdog.

Read his history and the briefs supporting the sanctions. View the oral argument of this week.
≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡
21:08 Tuesday 21 December 2010 — Law Day #52 +234 Days

Ms. Brown: JALGO is the acronym for Just A Lay Guy's Opinion.

Mr. Brown/Tauwab belongs in prison.

There you can keep track of him and he can make a contribution to society by ensuring that prisoners mention in their notices of appeal that the case "involves a felony" and ensuring that they mention in the notice that the case originated in the court of appeals, when applicable.

Outside a prison environment, he is a danger to the public! .
≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡ ≡
▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬ ▬
72. Papa Bear Jan 21, 2011 5:31 PM CST
After reading this guy’s background, I would think that anybody holding a JD would be happy the Court ruled the way it did.

By 74. Jim-OH 2011-01-21 19:02 ─0500 ⌠Thanks #72â on 2011 01 22, 12:44 am CST

Unfortunately, far too many of these comments reveal a very real inability of commentors who are apparently attorneys to properly analyze issues within the bounds of the facts and law. Dislike for this guy's conduct, "intent" or a myriad of other considerations cited are irrelevant. He attended law school. He received a Juris doctor degree. The degree has never been revoked or rescinded by the school. He has ever right to ACCURATELY represent to anyone that he received this degree, whether or not he was or is licensed. The Court was WRONG about this particular facet of the case, and the subjective rationalizations and attempts by those who condone such authoritarian power grabs by the courts indicate that many in this profession simply have a desire to "suck up" to authority. He is not a licensed attorney, but he still posseses a J.D. degree from the school. This is a matter of both free speech and due process. A court has ruled that he has no right to make a true statement of status which he earned at substantial expense.

By citizen1 on 2011 01 22, 4:39 pm CST

Citizen1: HERE HERE Finally!!!

By WRN on 2011 01 22, 4:44 pm CST

If you have passed the bar and are licensed to practice law, why would you choose to use JD over ESQ? Most wouldn't I find it to be strange.

By Esqscholar on 2011 01 22, 5:11 pm CST


By Esqscholar on 2011 01 22, 5:15 pm CST

It appears to me to be an overbroad ruling if the person is permanently required to not use J.D, an injunction against use of a title for preservation of safety is appropriate only as long as it is necessary to preserve that safety. A punitive measure that denies a truth would seem an unconstitutional infringement of the dissemination of proper and enlightening information or speech.

By Mojo on 2011 01 22, 6:25 pm CST

To #16: Esquire means shield and is a term of art applied to gentleman and other's who are allowed to shield a person from direct approach by the bench and an executive type agent. In the act as an the Esquire helps one deal with to an adversary in a legal setting. It is a very special word, and it does mean attorney. We are shields, or should be. Juris Doctor, on the other hand, is simply a term denoting a level of education which does not translate into being an Esquire or attorney.

By Mojo on 2011 01 22, 6:35 pm CST

Round #1 was a simple order to behave and not engage in UPL in the future.

{¶12} Accordingly, we adopt the findings and recommendation of the board. Respondent is hereby enjoined from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in the future.[1] All expenses and costs are taxed to respondent.

Judgment accordingly.


↓ (My ► and ◄ emphasis in footnote 1.) ↓
[1.] Concerned that respondent will return to the unauthorized practice of law, relator also seeks an order precluding respondent from using “J.D.” or “Esq.” in connection with his name and prohibiting respondent from working in any capacity in a law office or for a licensed attorney absent a license to practice law and registration in accordance with the Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar. ►►►We decline to issue such an order◄◄◄ but note that respondent risks contempt for continuing to engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

By 81. Jim-OH 2011-01-22 15:11 ─0500 ⌠28 May 2003 on 2011 01 22, 8:20 pm CST

Round #2 went a tad further.

Disciplinary Counsel, Relator,
Bruce A. Brown (aka B. Andrew Brown, aka Amir Jamal Tauwab), Respondent.

The Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law filed its final report in this court on
August 11, 2008, recommending that, pursuant to Rule VII of the Supreme Court Rules for the
Government of the Bar of Ohio, the Supreme Court of Ohio issue an order finding that
respondent, Bruce A. Brown (aka B. Andrew Brown, aka Amir Jamal Tauwab), has engaged in
the unauthorized practice of law; prohibiting respondent from engaging in the unauthorized
practice of law in the future; providing for reimbursement of costs and expenses incurred by the
board and relator; imposing civil penalties in the total amount of $50,000; and, requiring
respondent to show cause why he should not be found in contempt of the order issued in Case
No. 02-1380. Respondent filed objections to the final report, relator filed an answer and this
cause was considered by the court. On consideration thereof,

This court finds, consistent with the opinion rendered herein, that respondent's actions
of giving legal advice and assisting others in preparing legal pleadings and other documents
constitute the unauthorized practice of law. Respondent is enjoined from engaging in the
unauthorized practice of law. It is further ordered that respondent is prohibited from the use of
the terms "Esq.," "Esquire," "J.D.," or "Juris Doctor" in conjunction with his name or business

It is further ordered that, upon the filing of a motion by relator in Case No. 2002-1380,
Disciplinury Counsel v. Brotivn, 99 Ohio St.3d 114, 2003-Ohio-2568, 789 N.E.2d. 210,
respondent will be ordered to appear and show cause why he should not be held in contempt of
our order issued on May 28, 2003.

It is further ordered that respondent is fined $10,000 each for each of Counts One, Two
Three, Four, and Five of the complaint for a total penalty of $50,000. The fine shall be paid to
this court by certified check or money order on or before 30 days from the date of this order. If
respondent fails to pay said fine on or before 30 days from the date of this order the matter will
be referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection and this court may find
respondent in contempt.

It is further ordered that respondent provide reimbursement of costs and expenses
incurred by the board and relator in the amount of $4,541.25, which costs shall be payable to
this court by certified check or money order on or before 30 days from the date of this order. It
is further ordered that if these costs are not paid in full on or before 30 days from the date of this
order, interest at the rate of 10% per annum shall accrue on the balance of unpaid board costs,
effective 30 days from the date of this order. It is further ordered that if costs are not paid in full
on or before 30 days from the date of this order, this matter will be referred to the Office of the
Attorney General for collection and this court may find respondent in contempt.

It is further ordered, sua sponte, that all documents filed with this court in this case shall
meet the filing requirements set forth in the Rules of Practice of the Supreme Court of Ohio,
including requirements as to form, number, and timeliness of filings.
It is further ordered that the clerk of this court issue certified copies of this order as
provided for in Gov.Bar R. VII(19)(E); that publication be made as provided for in Gov.Bar R.
VII(19)(F); and that respondent bear the costs of publication.

Chief Justice

By 82. Jim-OH 2011-01-22 15:28 ─0500 ⌠19 Mar 2009 on 2011 01 22, 8:30 pm CST

Likewise, persons with a JD who have never taken a bar exam should not be able to use "JD"?

As someone above already said, whenever I see J.D. behind someone's name I assume they are NOT a lawyer, unless it's some expert's stream of credentials like -- M.D., JD, MS.Psy, PhD.

By Michae on 2011 01 22, 8:57 pm CST

Seems like everyone's making this a little to complicated. It's my understanding that each state sets it's own licensing requirements including who can call themselves what letters reflect licensure to practice. Academic degrees do not equal credentials and as I understand it, each institution still makes the decision about the educational degree. Example: Penn med school grads are MD's (medical doctors), dental school grads DMD's (dental medical doctor) VMD= veterinary medical doctor. All other schools award DVM's for vets (doctor of vet med) and DDS (doctor of dental science). All must pass their state and national boards to be eligible to practice. In all states I know of (which isn't all), only the "medical" boards can revoke licenses, but can't revoke academic credentials. This judge was way out of line (except maybe in California who's licensing board has said you can't use MD if you're not licensed. They also say you can't say your an "accountant" unless you're a CPA. Accounting degree does not = accountant, and representing yourself as one is fraud. BSN can't call themselves an RN if they're not registered anymore! Wish they'd stick with the fraud and go after all the white collar professionals abusing their licenses!

By victim One on 2011 01 23, 12:14 am CST

Memorandum Opinion and Order: Plaintiff's Motions to Proceed In Forma Pauperis is granted. (ECF 2). This action is dismissed. The Court certifies, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3), that an appeal from this decision could not be taken in good faith. Judge Patricia A. Gaughan on 12/2/10.

By 85. Jim-OH 2011-01-22 20:49 ─0500 ⌠02 Dec 2010 on 2011 01 23, 1:53 am CST

To 80, MOJO,

I would have hoped that your statement, "It is a very special word, and it does mean attorney. " had contained a footnote with a reference to an Act, regulation, ruling or such.

Nevertheless, I wonder if action now should be taken against the present "Esquire Magazine" (Hearst Publication) for misleadingly using the term and then the ABA Journal could be appropriately renamed Esquire Magazine.

Avocado Pit, Esq

By Avacado Pit on 2011 01 23, 4:53 am CST

Most people think JD means lawyer. Lawyers know that JD by itself doesn't mean licensed to practice.

By JD on 2011 01 23, 3:24 pm CST

It seems that many of you forget that to use anything a person is legally entitled to posses and use in a illegal manner entitles the courts to restrict that use in a manner befitting the crime regardless of how that right was conferred in the first place. It is as simple as that. There is no threat to those who are using the credential properly.

This person earned the right to use the credential J.D., but he did not earn the right to use it in an illegal manner, which he was doing. When he did that he lost the right. If the Court had made this ruling without a finding of guilt concerning the illegal use, then there would be a valid argument against taking away his rights.

As far as whether or not J.D. implies the right to practice law, if the reasonable person test was applied, it could easily be ruled that a reasonable person would see a J.D. as a license to practice law. Attorneys would not be reasonable persons in this instance because of knowledge that most people do not have: they know the difference a J.D. and a license to practice. The question would be: If a J.D. is a law degree and someone told you they had a law degree, would you believe them to be a lawyer? To most people, outside of the legal arena, the answer would be yes.

By Papa Bear on 2011 01 23, 5:44 pm CST

When I moved states I didn't bother to take the Bar here. No reason to -- I never have practised, never intended to. However, my J.D. is MINE and I will use it. So sue me! Honestly, this ruling, imho, is absurd.

By graduate and not practising on 2011 01 23, 9:09 pm CST

GANP, are you typing about the second U.S. D. C. ruling denying reconsideration or one of the other two state rulings?

89.graduate and not practising [<I>sic<I>] 23 Jan 2011 3:09 PM CST

When I moved states I didn’t bother to take the Bar here. No reason to—I never have practised [<I>sic</I>], never intended to. However, my J.D. is MINE and I will use it. So sue me! Honestly, this ruling, imho, is absurd.

By 85. Jim-OH 2011-01-22 20:49 ─0500 ⌠02 Dec 2010 on 2011 01 23, 10:33 pm CST

This is an example of a poor opinion brought on by poor facts and an even poorer defense/offense by the former attorney.

Bad facts make bad law. I doubt, though, that this bad law will extend beyond these facts.

By John on 2011 01 24, 2:39 am CST

Pappa Bear appears to be right on! I'm NOT an attorney, but a health care professional so can't say for sure but would guess maybe PB works in intellectual property?? If what he said is true, it seems the most appropriate response and great end to this discussion. Good job PB (assuming you're correct!)

By victim One on 2011 01 24, 2:53 am CST

IMLO, under all the circumstances, Papa Bear is right on.

The ciurt decline to forbid the use of J.D. in round #1.

Sho' 'nuff. the disbarred lawyer became a GGW (Gut Gone Wild).

By 93. Jim-OH 2011-01-23 22:29 ─0500 ⌠Papa B⌡ on 2011 01 24, 3:32 am CST

Whatever happened to due diligence?

I wouldn't let someone with a Doctorate in Theology remove my appendix...nor an ENT specialist operate on my knee.

Worst case scenario: make the state bar associations provide a "checklist" for folks, or hold their hands....

By AlG on 2011 01 24, 5:38 am CST

AIG's right on. If only some of the unemployed attorneys out there would start doing plaintiff's work for victims of fraud! Great analogy AIG. I couldn't convince my lawyers or the judge that it wasn't OK for an accountant to keep calling himself a CPA when he was unlicensed! They didn't get it. They also didn't get that it's not OK for the "accountant" to represent an LCSW (social worker) as a PhD, licensed psychologist. Response: what do you have against social workers? Nothing, except misrepresenting Ms Smith as Dr. Smith, and prescribing drugs! I'm following this conversation to see how the legal community responds to it's own. We've got the laws, but no skilled attorneys willing to represent plaintiffs in these cases at affordable rates. The medical profession makes fees up by doing more volume. Wish those in your field would find a way to do the same. Due diligence is moot if we don't have lawyers willing to call professionals on it.

By victim One on 2011 01 24, 5:52 am CST


That argument doesn't hold water. Why would you approach a D.Th. for an appendectomy or an ENT for knee surgery. I can see the ENT because he is an MD, but unless he represented himself as being able to do the surgery, why would you even ask? On the other hand, you would ask someone with a JD representing himself as an attorney through the use of JD for legal advice and services. Your making an "apples and oranges" comparison. Sure, there can be a valid comparison, but why bother if its an apple you want, eat an apple.

By Papa Bear on 2011 01 24, 5:57 am CST

I did a quick survey of the commentary, and it seems to break down legal between holders of JD degrees who practice law, and those who don't, with some crossover inbetween. I'm as much of a fan of the First Amendment as the next guy, but when somebody uses his academic credentials as a means to defrauding other people on the pretense that he is a practicing lawyer, the equities are against him on every count. No one has taken this man's Juris Doctor Degree away from him; he still has his degree denoting academic accomplishment (except, perhaps, for the course on Legal Ethics), he just can't use it as a means of inducing others to hire him as a lawyer. He has abused the privilege of self publicity to other people's disadvantage and injury. He may yet be constitutionally permitted to tell people that he earned a JD degree, but he can't use that appellation on his letterhead or business card, marketing and advertising, etc. While some may whine about the injustice of it all, this is not a philosophical debate about natural rights, or the extent to which people may lawfully use the truth to perpetrate a falsehood and a fraud. He may have a property right in that JD degree, but like a habitual drunk who has his car impounded for repeated drunk driving offenses, that property right is subordinate to the his obligation to use his property in ways that do not injure other people. Same with his right of self publicity.

By Arthur Silen, JD, LLM on 2011 01 24, 6:03 am CST

Apples to oranges?

The point wasn't that I'd as an arbitrary PhD to act as my MD, but that looking at the alphabet soup on a card shouldn't be the extent of a client's criteria for selection (Heck, a notary in some places can put "Esquire" behind their names.)

This individual in fact earned a JD, a lot of folks on this sheet agreed that only the university that "bestowed" the degree can have the authority to revoke. Anyone looking him up on the respective state bar listing would know he's not on there...again, due diligence.

By AlG on 2011 01 24, 6:21 am CST

Go read the actual order in this case <>. In addition to his unlicensed practive, this nere-do-well was "convicted of 44 felonies, including grand theft, forgery, uttering, and tampering with records, based on his conduct relating to his unauthorized practice of law. State v. Brown (1995), 108 Ohio App.3d 489, 671 N.E.2d 280." The order goes on to relate an additional 25 felony convictions for similar crimes. At the time of the instant complaint, he was holding himself out as an attorney.

In 2003, the court sanioned Brown for unlicensed practice and expressly admonished him concerning misleading people, but the court "declined to enjoin respondent from using “J.D.” or “Esq.” in connection with his name." In this case, based on the exceptionally egregious conduct discribed in the order, the punishment does seem narrowly tailored to fit the crime. (Make that "crimes.")

By BoatingLaw on 2011 01 25, 5:49 am CST

I practice in a Commonwealth (former British Empire) jurisdiction where almost every lawyer puts his/her academic initials on his/her business card/letterhead. When I want respectful service, such as on airplanes, I even style myself as "Doctor".
I am also admitted to 2 US bars. I put "JD", AND "Attorney & Counsellor at Law" on my business card, even though I am on the inactive list in both of those jurisdictions. Wonder what Ohio would do to me? Perhaps order me hanged, drawn, and quartered?
Incidentally, "Esq." is still used in formal correspondence in many ENGLISH-speaking countries, to indicate a degree of respect for the recipient. Nothing to do with legal qualifcations or licence. it is NEVER used, in those countries, to refer to oneself!

By Can't quite get it, JD on 2011 01 27, 11:06 pm CST

Isn't the question here whether or not a court can revoke a person's right to use an academic credential? Do any state BAR's limit use of JD to only licensees? Is there any state or nationwide standard for identifying members of the BAR? I can only go back to the medical equivalents: RN = "registered" nurse, not BSN etc. CPA = "certified" public accountant, not BS in accounting. It's all about the letters bestowed on by the licensing board AND any intent to misrepresent the "license" to practice. Put the guy behind bars and educate the judge. Perhaps he should write the law school involved and ask if they want to revoke the guys degree. Bet there'd be a mad scramble to take that case on!

By victim One on 2011 01 27, 11:55 pm CST
Rule VI §2 pg 73
Section 2. Inactive Attorneys.
(A) An attorney who is admitted to the practice of law in Ohio may be granted inactive status by registering as inactive with the Office of Attorney Services. Until the attorney requests and is granted reinstatement of active status, an inactive attorney shall not be entitled to practice law in Ohio; hold himself or herself out as authorized to practice law in Ohio; hold nonfederal judicial office in Ohio; occupy a nonfederal position in this state in which the attorney is called upon to give legal advice or counsel or to examine the law or pass upon the legal effect of any act, document, or law; be employed in the Ohio judicial system in a position required to be held by an attorney; or practice before any nonfederal court or agency in this state on behalf of any person except himself or herself.
(B) An attorney who is registered for inactive status is not required to file a biennial Certificate of Registration but shall keep the Office of Attorney Services apprised of the attorney’s current residence and office address and office telephone number and notify the Office of Attorney Services of any change in the information provided on the most recent Certificate of Registration filed by the attorney.
(C) A law firm may include the name of an inactive attorney on its letterhead if the name was included prior to the time the attorney registered for inactive status, provided the attorney is not suspended from the practice of law and the letterhead includes a designation that the attorney is “inactive.” An inactive attorney shall not be listed as “of counsel” or otherwise be represented as being able to engage in the practice of law.

By 102. Jim-OH 2011-01-27 21:25 ─0500 ⌠#100⌡ on 2011 01 28, 2:29 am CST

I think the ruling is bad. I have a J.D.; I do not practice law; I still have $200K in student loans to repay. I EARNED that degree. It was blood, sweat and tears and I gave up A LOT to attend law school and then perform well enough to stay in it. I should have the right to have my J.D. noted after my name! NOW, if I use it to practice law (or perhaps even "attempt to practice law"-though that might present a slipery slope) without being a member of the bar, then I can be busted for practicing law without a license, big time---just like any other profession requiring licensing (i.e., you can't pretend to be a doctor either.) But, I do not believe the court had the right to take away his earned degree'd status, unless, of course, his law school took it away first.

By Anonymous on 2011 01 28, 4:49 pm CST

To "Victim one"---CPA means "certified"...if one is practicing and claims to be a "CPA" without passing all 7 (or whatever it is now) tests for the license, then they should be busted--big time. If however a person states that they are an "accountant" because they have earned a degree in accountancy--that is perfectly fair. There is a distinction between accountant and CPA (certified public acct'ant). Likewise, there is a distinction between J.D. and lawyer (or esquire). Anyone can look a lawyer's name up online to verify whether that person is listed with that state's bar assn.; and if no computer access, then call the state bar assn. and ask. (Why would anyone pay tons of money for something without checking what they're receiving out first?)

As far as Big Bear goes with 'taking the car away'... Oh brother. But perhaps more teeth need be added to the disciplinary action for practicing without a license. Maybe those who do such should be put IN JAIL for that alone (in this case, this guy's deceptive continual practicing without a license deserves extended jail time); but, leave the degree out of it, unless the school rescinds it first. This court's decision just sets a bad precedent and infringes on multitudinal numbers of innocent persons' 1st A property rights who have earned bona fide degrees and do not misuse the status. (Maybe the court could ask the school to consider rescinding this man's degree due to improper usage, though.)

By anonymous--slippery on 2011 01 28, 6:01 pm CST

Anonymous: I'm right there with you. Reason I'm "victim one" is that no one's prosecuting mr. ex CPA for representing himself as one for 20 years! He even argued with the judge in court about it. Licensing board seemed outraged, but nothing's been done. Apparently the states attorney and civil judges just don't think it's a big deal! He gained access to multimillion dollar estates of elderly victims USING his CPA license, then let it lapse (or didn't renew because of the tax lien against him for failing to file and pay withholdings). His license was gold, and enabled him to deceive folks into naming him as a POA, executor and trustee! Evidence and admissions are all there, just no legal system to put him behind bars. Maybe it'd be different if he was in another state. Admissions in court, overwhelming evidence, and he's still out insisting he's a CPA!

By victim One on 2011 01 28, 7:24 pm CST

Again, we're back to distinguishing between academic accomplishment and state regulatory licensure. For purposes of self-promotion, that is a distinction without a difference. People who take and pass a Bar Examination and who thereafter are admitted to practice can choose to be either active or inactive, as they may prefer. Either way, they are still lawyers. The fellow who abused his professional license to deceive and cheat others, and for which he was disbarred, is no longer a lawyer in any sense. He may not, therefore, hold himself out as having the professional capacity and status to provide legal services to other people. If identifying himself as a holder of a JD Degree to induce other people to do business with him as a lawyer, he may be prevented from doing so, and without revoking the academic degree that he currently holds. While prudent people might want to check out some when they are considering hiring as a lawyer to verify that individual's professional status, they are under no obligation to do so. If wearing a pinstripe suit and carrying a briefcase were part of this fellow's fraudulent pitch, I would have no problem with prohibiting him from doing that too.

By Arthur Silen, JD, LLM on 2011 01 28, 11:24 pm CST

Add a Comment

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.