On Thursday, June 15, 2023, the Supreme Court of California disciplined attorney Frances M. Gutierrez for splitting legal fees with non-lawyers, a violation of professional conduct rules.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Frances M. Gutierrez,” with case no. S276466.

The charges cited California Rules of Professional Conduct rules 1-320(A) and 1-300(A).

As stated in the notice of disciplinary charges, Gutierrez was accused of engaging in a deliberate violation of the former rules of Professional Conduct, specifically rule 1-320(A). The alleged violation pertains to Gutierrez’s sharing of legal fees with individuals who are not licensed lawyers, which is strictly prohibited. Additionally, he is also accused of providing assistance to an entity that is owned and operated by individuals lacking the required license to practice law in the state of California.

The notice of disciplinary charges states:

“By sharing legal fees with Eric Campbell and Anita Youabian, who are not licensed to practice law in the State of California, for legal services respondent performed on behalf of 88 clients of National Family Solutions between October 2013 and early 2017, respondent shared legal fees with nonlawyers in willful violation of the former Rules of Professional Conduct, rule 1-320(A).”

The notice of disciplinary charges continues:

“Gutierrez was unaware of the State Bar’s investigation or the injunction and orders issued in the assumption case until she received correspondence from the State Bar inquiring about her work with NFS in November 2021.”

In lieu of the aforementioned misconduct, the court suspended Gutierrez for one year, stayed, and put on probation for one year with conditions.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that Frances M. Gutierrez (Respondent), State Bar Number 283112, is suspended from the practice of law in California for one year, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and placed on probation for one year subject to the following conditions:

Gutierrez is suspended from the practice of law for the first 30 days of probation;

Gutierrez must comply with the other conditions of probation recommended by the Hearing Department of the State Bar Court in its Order Approving Stipulation filed on March 1, 2023; and

At the expiration of the period of probation, if Gutierrez has complied with all conditions of probation, the period of stayed suspension will be satisfied and that suspension will be terminated.”

Attorney Gutierrez attended the Ventura College of Law, graduating in 2012. She practices in Oxnard, California. She is licensed in California. Her info can be found on avvo.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here