On Friday, October 20, 2023, the Supreme Court of Iowa imposed a 30-day suspension and additional educational requirements upon Attorney Mike Mulamba Mbanza for professional ethics violations.
The case is titled ‘The Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board v. Mike Mulamba Mbanza,’ with case number 23-0160.
The complaint against Attorney Mbanza alleges that he violated multiple ethics rules and federal regulations in relation to his representation of a client in federal immigration matters.
The case began with a charge regarding a false certification made by Attorney Mbanza on the client’s federal immigration application. One specific violation was Attorney Mbanza’s false preparer’s certification on the client’s immigration application, which contained misrepresentations regarding the client’s marital status and criminal history. Attorney Mbanza claimed that the application was prepared by a staff member from Path of Hope, a nonprofit organization he was associated with, but he signed the certification despite not having prepared or reviewed the document himself.
As the proceedings unfolded, it became apparent that Attorney Mbanza’s misconduct in defending himself against the ethics charges was more concerning than the original charges themselves. The grievance commission found that Attorney Mbanza engaged in obstructive conduct during the proceedings, such as stonewalling in response to discovery requests and filing frivolous motions.
Throughout the disciplinary proceedings, Attorney Mbanza repeatedly failed to provide meaningful responses to the Board’s discovery requests, leading to numerous discovery disputes. The grievance commission ordered Attorney Mbanza to provide substantive responses, but he continued to provide inadequate and evasive answers. Sanctions were imposed on Attorney Mbanza, including prohibiting him from offering certain documents or eliciting testimony in response to the Board’s discovery requests.
The grievance commission concluded that Attorney Mbanza committed several violations of Iowa’s ethics rules and the federal regulation governing immigration practice. It recommended a 30-day suspension of Attorney Mbanza’s license to practice law and additional continuing legal education requirements. The Iowa Supreme Court, upon conducting a de novo review, agreed with the grievance commission’s findings and imposed the 30-day license suspension.
The Iowa Supreme Court ultimately suspended Attorney Mbanza’s license to practice law and imposed additional educational requirements.
The disposition reads:
“We suspend Mike Mbanza’s license to practice law with no possibility for reinstatement for thirty days. The suspension will begin ten days from the date of this decision. Iowa Ct. R. 34.23(1). Mbanza’s suspension applies to all facets of the practice of law under Iowa Court Rule 34.23(3).”
According to Avvo.com, Attorney Mike Mulamba Mbanza is a lawyer based in Coralville, Iowa. He acquired his license to practice in the state in 2019.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.