Los Angeles attorney Joseph Adams was suspended by the California Supreme Court on Thursday, June 29, 2023, over incompetence, lack of diligence, communication issues, and misrepresentations to clients.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Joseph Adams,” and was brought by the State Bar of California through the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, case no. S279768.
The charges cited Adams’ willful violation of Rules of Professional Conduct, former rule 3-110(A), Rule 1.3, as well as Business and Professions Code sections 6068(m), and 6106.
In a Notice of Disciplinary Charges (NDC) containing eight counts of misconduct, Adams, in his representation of two separate clients, allegedly failed to competently and diligently pursue the clients’ interest, caused delay, failed to inform clients of significant developments of their cases, and made misrepresentations to them. He was further alleged to have failed to respond to the clients’ written inquiries.
The filing states:
“On or about April 30, 2018, Oliver Uenzen (“Uenzen”) employed Respondent to perform legal services, namely to obtain an O-1 nonimmigrant visa, via an I-129 petition (“petition”). Respondent knew that time was of the essence when he agreed to represent Uenzen, in that Respondent knew that if he did not file the petition by July 31, 2018.”
The filing continues:
“In a September 26, 2019 email to Uenzen, respondent falsely stated that, as of that day, Uenzen’s I-129 visa petition was “withdrawn,” when in fact respondent knew the petition had already been denied in January 2019.”
The filing further alleges:
“On or about May 10, 2019, Calvin Dixon (“Dixon”) employed Respondent to perform
legal services, namely to renew Dixon’s O-1 visa, which Respondent had initially helped Dixon get in 2015. Respondent knew that the initial visa was set to expire on December 15, 2019, after which point Dixon’s immigration status would be compromised, and Respondent therefore knew that time was of the essence. Respondent intentionally, recklessly, repeatedly, or grossly negligently failed to act with reasonable diligence on behalf of Dixon.”
The filing additionally notes:
“Respondent failed to respond promptly to eleven written reasonable status inquiries
made by Respondent’s client, Calvin Dixon, between August 4, 2020, and August 24, 2020, that Respondent received in matter in which Respondent had agreed to provide legal services.”
In his formal response to the NDC, Adams asserted that the Uenzen matter is a claim of negligence and a fee dispute and that there is no disciplinary offense as there was no clear and convincing evidence that Adams ever made any material misstatements to Uenzen.
As to the Dixon matter, Adams claimed that he did not engage in misconduct in his representation of Dixon and that he had properly and competently represented Dixon at all times.
Court documents further revealed that Adams and the State Bar, submitted to the court a Stipulation Re Facts, Conclusions of Law, and Disposition, indicating that the parties agreed to Adams’ suspension from the practice of law for one year stayed suspension, and that Adams will be placed on probation for one year with conditions.
On March 16, 2023, the State Bar Court, upon finding that the stipulation was fair to the parties and that it is in the public’s interest, issued the actual suspension order of Adams.
Accordingly, the California Supreme Court decided to suspend Adams from practicing law for one year but put that suspension on hold and gave him one year of probation with the conditions from the Hearing Department’s Decision. Adams will be suspended for the first 60 days of his probation.
Adams was also ordered to produce to the State Bar’s Office of Probation evidence of taking and passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination.
Mr. Joseph Adams attended the University of California – Davis School of Law, graduating in 2005. He practiced in Los Angeles, prior to the suspension. Adams has been admitted to practice in California, license no. 239181. His info can be found on Avvo.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.