LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently disbarred Stephen Edward Galindo, a South Pasadena attorney, for attempting to practice law without a valid license.
Galindo was previously suspended on May 29, 2015 and was therefore ineligible to work with or on the behalf of clients in any circumstance, according to the court's March 31 decision.
Galindo was initially suspended for 30 days and ordered to pay restitution for abandoning a client during court proceedings. The judge in the matter ordered Galindo to pay sanctions, but the attorney failed to do, resulting in an additional $2,000 being added to the original $1,000 fine.
The attorney violated his suspension on two occasions, according to the court's order. The first charge came after Galindo represented himself as a lawyer to the Baldwin Park Police Department. The attorney contacted the department more than 30 days after his suspension order but he was still not entitled to practice because he had not paid restitution. Galindo’s objective was to help his friend get his car out of impound following a hit-and-run accident. The officer discovered Galindo’s status after requesting his bar number and informed the attorney that he would be notifying the California State Bar of the interaction.
In the second matter, Galindo allegedly met a client at the Alhambra courthouse to discuss legal matters. The guard on duty asked for the attorney’s bar membership card and received notice when the card was swiped that Galindo was not an active member. Galindo was not allowed to meet with the client, and another complaint was submitted to the state bar.
The attorney also failed to provide proof of compliance with Rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court, which requires suspended and disbarred attorneys to notify any clients or opposing counsel of their status. The rule also prohibits attorneys from accepting new business. A signed affidavit stating compliance is to be submitted to the State Bar’s Office of Probation, but Galindo did not complete this task.
Disbarment was recommended due to the nature of the charges.
The 66-year-old Los Angeles County attorney is a graduate of the Loyola Law School. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1977 and had no prior record of discipline.