Legal Ethics

La. Attorney Accused by Former Firm of Misusing Client Assets Has Given Up Law License

A prominent Louisiana attorney has given up his law license after being accused in a civil suit by his former law firm of misusing or misappropriating a seven-figure sum of client assets, including tax credits.

James M. “Tres” Bernhard III, who formerly served as an associate of Crawford Lewis, agreed to resign in lieu of discipline, the Louisiana Supreme Court announced on Friday. The agreement bars him from seeking admission in the future in Louisiana or any other jurisdiction, the Advocate reports.

The law firm sued Bernhard on April 27 in the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge, seeking damages and the return of all income he received from the firm since starting work there in 2007. It alleges that Bernhard, who was fired March 22, used client funds to pay personal creditors, sold bogus tax credits to third parties and fabricated a $600,000 check.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to the newspaper’s request for comment Friday afternoon.

Earlier coverage: “Baton Rouge Law Firm Accuses Former Lawyer of Misappropriation, Obtains TRO”

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