On Tuesday, September 5, 2023, the Supreme Court of Colorado disbarred attorney Douglas Leo Romero due to multiple violations of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct. Romero was found guilty of charging unreasonable fees to clients.
The case is entitled “People v. Douglas Leo Romero,” with case no. 22PDJ025.
The charges cited Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct 1.5(a), 1.16(d), 3.4(c), 5.5(a)(2), 8.1(a), 8.4(c) which states:
A lawyer must not charge an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses.
A lawyer must protect a client’s interests upon termination of the representation, including by returning unearned fees and any property to which the client is entitled.
A lawyer must not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal.
A lawyer must not practice law where doing so violates the regulations of the legal profession.
A lawyer must not knowingly make a false statement of material fact in connection with a disciplinary matter.
It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
The violations committed by Romero involved multiple instances of unethical behavior. In one case, he had charged an immigration client $3,500 for a U visa, knowing that the client likely did not qualify for it. Over the next 19 months, Romero and his firm failed to make any substantial progress on the case. When the client terminated the representation in 2019 and requested a refund, Romero had only returned $500, keeping $3,000 of the client’s money. Romero had falsely claimed on four occasions that his firm had expended over 50 hours on the case, though no contemporaneous records had supported this assertion.
Additionally, while suspended from practicing law, Romero had advised a client on a prenuptial agreement and had drafted it without proper supervision from a licensed attorney. He had also failed to promptly pay ordered costs in a previous disciplinary case, disregarding the deadline imposed on him.
After a disciplinary hearing, the board imposed disbarment upon Douglas Leo Romero.
The Disposition states:
“Following a disciplinary hearing, a hearing board disbarred Douglas Leo Romero (attorney registration number 35464). The disbarment is scheduled to take effect on September 5, 2023.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Romero practiced in Lakewood, Colorado prior to the disbarment. He acquired his law license in Colorado in 2004.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.