Court Rules Lawyer Practicing Without a License...
Doña Ana County Clients Contracts Void
Monday, June 09, 2008
(LAS CRUCES)…District Judge Robert E. Robles today granted partial summary judgment in a case brought by former clients against Michael J. Gopin, an attorney doing business in Doña Ana County. These consumers are individually represented by Kyle W. Gesswein, of Las Cruces. Attorney General Gary King’s Office recently joined this case seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties.
The court’s ruling states that Gopin is unauthorized to practice law in the state; that his client fee structure violates the Rules of Professional Conduct for the legal practice in New Mexico; the advertising of his law firm’s services violate the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act; and his plaintiff-clients’ contracts along with any similar contracts are void.
The Attorney General’s Office filed a six count complaint against Gopin, d.b.a. Law Offices of Michael J. Gopin, last month alleging the defendant was violating the Unfair Practices Act by his acts and omissions and misleading statements; was unlicensed to practice in New Mexico; used a chiropractor to help solicit business; that Gopin’s retainer agreement with clients was an unconscionable trade practice; the contract was void due to unlawful solicitation; and that Gopin should be prohibited from advertising his law firm’s services in New Mexico.
Today’s partial summary judgment addressed some, but not all of the pending issues in this case.
Consumer Protection Division Director Karen Meyers says, “Today’s order is very significant but we are still in litigation and the AGO will be pursuing further relief in this case.”