Attorney Katie R.J. Lichter was disbarred by the Supreme Court of California on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, for her incompetence and misconduct in handling an asylum case.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Katie R.J. Lichter” with case no. S279753.

In a notice of disciplinary charges, it was stated that the respondent faced disciplinary charges for multiple violations, including failing to perform with competence in assisting a client with an asylum application, not keeping the client informed of significant developments, and misrepresenting information to the client. She was also accused of failing to cooperate in the State Bar investigation and neglecting to update her membership address as required by law. The court noted that if Lichter failed to respond to the notice within 20 days, she could face default, involuntary inactive enrollment, and additional disciplinary actions, including potential monetary sanctions.

The notice of disciplinary charges states:

“On or about December 19, 2019, Lucy Kangoro employed the respondent to perform legal services, namely, to assist her in filing an asylum application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), which respondent intentionally, recklessly, with gross negligence, or repeatedly failed to perform with competence, in willful violation of Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 1.1, by failing to (i) timely file Ms. Kangoro’s asylum application with USICS within one year of Ms. Kangoro’s entrance into the United States, by on or about April 2, 2020, (ii) inform Ms. Kangoro that her asylum application was not timely filed with the USCIS so she could take appropriate actions to preserve her interests, and iii) file an affidavit requesting a waiver of the one-year filing deadline.”

The notice of disciplinary charges continues:

“Respondent failed to cooperate and participate in a disciplinary investigation pending against respondent by failing to provide a substantive response to the State Bar’s letters of July 10, 2020, July 30, 2020, October 2, 2020, and May 11, 2022, which respondent received, that requested respondent’s response to the allegations of misconduct being investigated in case number 20-O-08037, in willful violation of Business and Professions Code section 6068(i).”

In the petition for disbarment filed by the State Bar dated December 12, 2022, it was stated that the same filed the said petition based upon the respondent’s failure to file a timely response to the notice of disciplinary charges and failure to have the default set aside.

The petition states:

“As required by rule 5.80(A), the State Bar’s Motion for Entry Of Default included the date Of notice and date Of service Of disciplinary charges, a statement that the attorney did not timely file a response under rule 5.43, and the advisement language required by rule 5.80(AÅ3) in prominent type advising the attorney of the consequences Of failing to reply to the motion for entry Of default within 10 days of service.”

After reviewing the petition and the evidence presented by the State Bar, the Supreme Court of California concluded that the respondent should be disbarred from the practice of law.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that Katie R. J. Lichter (Respondent), State Bar Number 314441, is disbarred from the practice of law in California and that Respondent’s name is stricken from the roll of attorneys. The respondent must comply with California Rules of Court, rule 9.20, and perform the acts specified in subdivisions (a) and (c) of that rule within 30 and 40 calendar days, respectively, after the date this order is filed. (Athearn v. State Bar (1982) 32 Cal.3d 38, 45 [the operative date for identification of clients being represented in pending matters and others to be notified is the filing date of this order].)”

Ms. Lichter was admitted to practice law in California in 2017. She graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School with a J.D. degree in 2013. She was a member of the California State Bar until she was disbarred.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.