Lawyer Who Acquired Too Many Clients Has Breakdown, Fights to Keep Law License
A Las Vegas lawyer who was overwhelmed with the number of new clients flocking to his bankruptcy practice is fighting to keep his law license after suffering an “emotional crisis” and packing up for Miami.
Jorge Sanchez had been out of law school for only a couple of years in August 2008 when he launched a bankruptcy practice catering to Spanish-speaking clients, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The next year, the Sanchez Law Group was taking on as many as 42 new clients a month.
“But it all fell apart in March,” the Review-Journal reports, “after Sanchez said he realized that he had acquired too many clients, too fast, and had hired some employees who weren’t loyal to him.”
Last week the Nevada Supreme Court temporarily suspended Sanchez’s license after finding he had “failed to safekeep funds in potentially hundreds of cases,” the article says.
The story pieces together Sanchez’s plight and its aftermath through interviews and court documents. According to one bankruptcy filing, as many as 480 of Sanchez’s former clients have active cases pending, but they don’t have the money to hire substitute counsel. Some local lawyers are taking on some of the cases pro bono while others are offering to handle them at lower fees.
In court papers, Sanchez said that as his clientele grew larger he struck a deal with lawyer Joseph Scalia, known for managing large caseloads. Scalia told the Review-Journal that he was to receive outstanding fees for the cases he handled, and Sanchez would come work for him.
But Sanchez wrote that he wasn’t happy with Scalia’s treatment of his clients, causing him to become “depressed and apprehensive.” That led to a thwarted attempt to take back his files that involved an altercation with lawyers from Scalia’s office and a call to police, Sanchez said.
Afterward, Sanchez “suffered an emotional crisis,” and he went to Miami to stay with relatives and get treatment. He has now returned and hopes to continue his legal career.
Scalia told the bankruptcy court that his office has many of Sanchez’s files, but it has not received fees to service the cases.