Attorney Regulation

Using Fake Bar Number, 'Lawyer' Handled 20 Civil Matters, Newspaper Reports

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When Kelly Fulmer resigned from the Walton-Verona school board this week, after more than a decade of service, he didn’t give a reason.

But he told fellow board members in the Kentucky school district they would be reading about him in the newspaper, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

And they did: Although Fulmer, who listed himself as a “Michigan Law School” graduate on a school district website, has handled 13 probate cases and seven other civil matters in the Boone County courthouse since 2006, he did so using a fake Kentucky bar number, the newspaper says.

He even used that same bar number in the Northern Kentucky Bar Association’s legal directory for 2010, according to the article.

It appears, however, that Fulmer isn’t a lawyer, at least in Kentucky: Linda Tally Smith, who serves as commonwealth’s attorney for Boone County, says there is no record that Fulmer has a law license in the state, and the Boone County sheriff’s office is investigating.

In addition to his Boone County representations, Fulmer is also reportedly identified as a lawyer for several companies in corporate records at the secretary of state’s office.

He didn’t respond to the newspaper’s efforts to obtain comment.

It appears that no one attempted to confirm Fulmer’s bar number with the Kentucky Bar Association until questions recently were raised, and the University of Michigan Law School says it has no record showing that he is a graduate, the Enquirer reports.

Attorney Edward Monohan V of Florence apparently was the first to sound the alarm about Fulmer, after a former client of Fulmer’s complained to Monohan about his work in a Boone District Court probate matter, the article says.

“I thought, ‘No attorney would ever do this,’ ” says Monohan of Fulmer’s “sloppy” legal work.

He called for changes to be made to prevent others from practicing law without a license with such apparent ease.

“The big concern I had was things were being done not the right way, and there was a lot of money involved,” Monohan tells the newspaper.

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