LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently ruled
to suspend attorney Barry Steven Jorgensen of Diamond Bar from
practicing law for a period of six months, according to court
The ruling was made
Nov. 11, according to the State Bar's website.
Steven was found culpable of misconduct for illegally collecting
advanced fees for loan-modification services. He will be required to
make restitutions in the amount of $61,635 plus interest to end his
Jorgensen entered into an agreement with a company targeting
clients who either were currently in foreclosure or close to it. The
company, Legally Yours, would offer loan-modification legal services
to clients and match them with an attorney. Jorgensen was hired to
assist with around 300 cases for the company.
During Jorgensen’s first year with Legally Yours, fees were paid
directly to the company who would in turn pay him a monthly salary.
In October 2012, clients were instructed to pay Jorgensen directly
for his services.
Jorgensen allegedly violated Civil Code section 2944.7, which
prevents attorneys from collecting fees for loan-modification
services prior to their completion. The State Bar Court reviewed the
five separate counts and found Jorgensen culpable in one. The
remaining four were dismissed because Jorgensen provided litigation
services in addition to the loan modifications, and therefore the
fees collected were not in violation.
However, the hearing judge found that Jorgensen had accepted
retainer fees in one matter after all litigation services had been
Jorgensen was found culpable in events that took place between
March 2011 and April 2012. A client retained the services of Legally
Yours for the foreclosure of two properties. The client paid the
retainer as well as a $750 monthly service fee before paying another
retainer fee of $4,000 and adding an additional $750 monthly fee in
August 2011. Jorgensen took over the case in October 2011, after
which he unsuccessfully negotiated a modification for one property.
However, Jorgensen successfully negotiated the second property,
though the client rejected the modification because of the high
The State Bar Court found that the attorney and Legally Yours had
illegally accepted $5,250 from the client. Jorgensen was also found
culpable in aiding and abetting legal services provided by an
unlicensed attorney as well as fee sharing.
The hearing judge took into account several factors when deciding
Jorgensen’s discipline. Since his admission to the State Bar in
1978, Jorgensen has had no prior history of misconduct and provides
volunteer services, according to the State Bar website.
Initially, according to court documents,
the hearing judge recommended a 30-day suspension for Jorgensen based
on being culpable in one of five counts. However, the Office of Chief
Trial Counsel sought a longer sentence on appeal, stating that
Jorgensen was culpable on the other four counts as well. According to
the State Bar website,
a review panel of three judges sided with the OCTC.
In accordance with the suspension, Jorgensen must comply with the
California Rules of Court Rule
9.20 subsections (a) and (c). He must tell his clients about the
ruling, provide any papers to them regarding their cases, return any
fees that are still unearned, and notify opposing counsel in any
pending litigation of his disbarment.
Jorgensen must then file with the clerk of the State Bar Court
that he has complied with the provisions of his disbarment.