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Legal Ethics

San Francisco Sues to Close Down Immigration Law Firm, Claims ‘Exorbitant’ Fees

Posted Nov 18, 2010 9:36 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawsuit filed by the city of San Francisco claims that a lawyer voluntarily disbarred for high fees and inadequate representation continued to prey on immigration clients by hiring another lawyer to act as a front.

In a news conference, City Attorney Dennis Herrera called the disbarred lawyer, Martin Guajardo, “one of San Francisco’s most notorious predators,” the Bay Citizen reports. The suit filed Wednesday claims Herrera charged “exorbitant” fees but did “little or nothing” for his desperate clients, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

The suit alleges Guajardo gave up his license in 2008, but he continued to practice law with the help of lawyer Christopher Stender. Herrera is seeking an injunction to close the law firm, the Immigration Practice Group.

A separate private class-action lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks damages for Guajardo's former clients. The suit is being handled pro bono by Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe.

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