Legal Ethics

City Attorney Candidate Says She Was Inactive, Not Suspended, Vows Suit over Mailer

A candidate for city attorney in Oakland, Calif., acknowledges she briefly lost eligibility to practice law for failure to take continuing legal education classes, but says it’s wrong to call that a suspension.

Candidate Jane Brunner, a city council member, said Sunday she will file a libel suit over a last-minute campaign mailer about her bar status, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The mailer says Brunner “has been suspended from practicing law by California State Bar.”

Brunner said she didn’t take the required courses while taking a break from legal work, resulting in a loss of bar eligibility in 1995 that continued until January 1997. “Being inactive in the bar is very different from being suspended,” she said.

Representatives for Brunner’s opponent defended the wording, pointing to a California Bar Journal article that referred to “suspended” lawyers who lost eligibility for failure to take CLE.

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