Posted November 10, 2018 11:19:03 Philadelphi attorneys who have filed divorce cases in Philadelphia, Maryland and Pennsylvania will soon face a court hearing.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday, seeks an order that the attorneys’ pay attorney fees and costs.
It is being brought by attorneys in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., who claim the attorneys violated the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct by representing themselves and misrepresenting their clients.
“I feel like a victim and I feel like an attorney,” said one of the plaintiffs, who asked to remain anonymous because of his situation.
“You don’t feel like you have the right to make a living.
You don’t have the rights.
And you don’t even have the ability to work.”
The Philadelphia attorney, Mark Bresnahan, who is representing the Philadelphia plaintiffs, said the attorneys had no right to represent themselves.
“The attorney was not a real lawyer,” Bresny said.
“It was a sham.”
Bresner said he has been representing clients in Philadelphia for almost a decade and had no idea that the Pennsylvania law he had passed was being challenged.
“My clients have been harmed,” he said.
Philadelphia is the second-largest city in Pennsylvania and has a large population of professionals who are looking for a new home.
The attorneys are challenging the rules on the grounds that the PA Rules of Practical Professional Conduct prohibit attorneys from representing themselves in matters where they are not their clients and are in fact representing another person.
The lawyers say the rules do not prohibit the representation of an attorney in matters concerning the same client.
Bresnican, who has represented clients in Washington, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, said he believes that if the Pennsylvania rules were not in place, he would have had a better chance of representing his clients.
He said that his Philadelphia clients were seeking to get out of their divorce and wanted to find another home.
“When you look at it from a legal perspective, there’s nothing that is stopping a lawyer from representing a client, and there is nothing that’s stopping them from representing their clients,” Breny said, adding that his clients were never represented by an attorney.
The Philadelphia lawyers have argued that the rule should not be changed.
They say the PA rules prohibit attorneys representing themselves from representing clients, which would be illegal in the Philadelphia area.
“We believe that if this were not Pennsylvania, then this is a whole other set of issues, and this is something that we would be challenging,” said Bresnick.
“If we don’t get this rule changed, it will have no impact in Philadelphia.”
The PA Attorney General’s Office said it would review the suit and could take action, including seeking a temporary injunction.
“In the interests of justice and public confidence, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that these attorneys do not seek to exploit the rules of professional conduct for personal gain,” said a spokesman for Attorney General William H. Fitzpatrick Jr. The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office said the lawsuit was the latest in a series of suits filed in Pennsylvania against attorneys who represent themselves, including a recent suit that resulted in the release of a recording of a Pennsylvania lawyer telling an attorney he could not represent her because she was not her client.
The PA attorney general also has launched a criminal investigation into Pennsylvania’s divorce industry, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Attorney General�s Office said that it would take the complaint to the Attorney General of the State of Pennsylvania.
“We will review the complaint, if appropriate, and if appropriate will take appropriate action,” the spokesman said.
Bresnick said that the Philadelphia attorneys’ claims are similar to other suits filed by lawyers who have represented themselves in other states, such as New York, Florida, Texas and Maryland.
The attorney general�s office is seeking to ban attorneys from serving as attorneys for others.
“These are all cases where the attorney-client privilege is violated,” B Resnahan said.
He added that attorneys who are representing themselves would be violating Pennsylvania�s rules if they acted in a way that harmed their clients, even though they did not represent themselves in the Pennsylvania case.