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Trial lawyer’s license suspension leads to mistrial; was secretary to blame?

Posted Nov 5, 2013 8:44 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A lawyer whose license was suspended because he failed to renew his license will have to pay more money than the missed registration fee after a judge discovered the problem during a trial.

The lawyer, Steven Mezrow, was trying a personal injury case in Philadelphia when Judge Lisa Rau discovered the license suspension, the Legal Intelligencer reports. Rau declared a mistrial eight days into trial and ordered Mezrow’s firm to pay the defense’s trial costs, excluding attorney fees.

Rau said she learned of the suspension when she checked her email and saw Mezrow’s name on a list of attorneys on administrative suspension. Mezrow told the judge he wasn’t aware of the suspension, according to the article, which examined an Oct. 29 transcript of Rau’s hearing into the matter.

Mezrow’s lawyer told the judge that his client had instructed his office to complete the online registration, but apparently it never happened. And Mezrow said a secretary opens his mail, so he never saw any notice about a suspension.

Mezrow’s law partner testified that Mezrow’s personal secretary was fired in the spring and never replaced, the story says.

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