Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, December 6, 2012


Page 3


State Bar Recommends License Cancellation Over Lawyer’s Misrepresentation of Disability


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The State Bar of California has recommended cancellation of the license of a newly admitted attorney who received special accommodations for the bar exam based on an alleged disability, the organization said yesterday.

Leah E. Harmuth, 28, of New York, entered into an agreement with the State Bar Office of Chief Trial Counsel for cancellation of her license, according to a press release. The agreement does not identify Harmuth’s alleged disability and admissions records are generally confidential.

A license cancellation is invoked when, after an applicant’s admission to practice, the State Bar becomes aware of information that may have barred the admission. A cancellation is different than a disbarment, which results from misconduct occurring after admission to the State Bar.

Harmuth’s cancellation is based on misconduct that occurred both before and after admission.

In 2009, Harmuth was given 50 percent more time and a semi-private room to take the California bar exam, based on her misrepresentation of the type of testing accommodations she had received at the University of Pennsylvania.  Had the State Bar known the true circumstances, it would have denied Harmuth’s request, the release said.

The State Bar said it learned of the misrepresentations in September of last year from the New York State Board of Law Examiners, which had discovered them during the process of Harmouth’s application for the New York State Bar Exam

The New York bar disqualified Harmuth from taking the exam or applying for admission to the New York bar for two years.

The misrepresentations to both states’ licensing bodies amounted to “acts involving moral turpitude and dishonesty in willful violation of Business and Professions Code, section 6106,” State Bar Court Judge Lucy Armendariz found.

The cancellation won’t go into effect until approved by the California Supreme Court. For the time being, however, Harmuth is ineligible to practice law in this state.


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