On September 1, 2023, retired Arizona lawyer Robert Hungerford was officially reprimanded by the Arizona Supreme Court for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Nevada.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Robert Truman Hungerford,” case no. PDJ 2023-9019.

The charges cited Hungerford’s violation of Rules 5.5(a)(1), 5.5(c), 5.5(d)(2), and 8.4(c) of the Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct, which states:

A lawyer shall not practice law in a jurisdiction where doing so violates the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction.

A lawyer who is not admitted to practice in Nevada shall not represent a client in an action or proceeding governed by Nevada Supreme Court rules unless authorized to do so.

A lawyer not admitted in Nevada shall not represent or hold themselves out as admitted to practice law in Nevada.

It is misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.

According to records from Hungerford’s disciplinary case, he had been admitted to practice law in Arizona in 1993 but held retired status since 2010. As a retired lawyer in Arizona, Hungerford was prohibited from practicing law in any other jurisdiction.

However, in March 2021, Hungerford entered into a legal services contract with Shawn Brown, an inmate incarcerated in Nevada who had been convicted of murder. Hungerford agreed to represent Brown in his appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court. Over the next few months, Hungerford drafted and filed an appellate brief on Brown’s behalf, had multiple phone calls advising Brown, and sent correspondence identifying himself as Brown’s attorney.

The State Bar of Arizona opened an investigation after Brown filed a complaint against Hungerford in 2022. On March 13, 2023, the State Bar filed formal charges, alleging Hungerford violated Nevada ethics rules by practicing law without a license in that state. In June 2023, Presiding Disciplinary Judge Margaret H. Downie granted partial summary judgment, finding as a matter of law that Hungerford engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

At a mitigation hearing on July 24, 2023, Hungerford testified on his own behalf but did not deny his conduct. The hearing panel issued its decision on July 31, imposing a reprimand as the appropriate sanction.

On September 1, Judge Downie formally entered the reprimand against Hungerford along with an order requiring him to pay $4,190.30 in costs to the State Bar. Despite being barred from practicing law due to his retired status, Hungerford was found to have represented a client in another state without proper authorization.

Mr. Robert Hungerford had maintained his law practice in Tucson, and he had been licensed in Arizona, license no. 014717.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.