LOS ANGELES – The State Bar Court of California recently issued a public reproval to Lennie Ann Alzate, a San Diego attorney, for misconduct charges after appearing on behalf of a client with their authorization.
According to the December 28 decision, Alzate was once the owner and operator of the law firm Westside Law Group (Westside). However, she relinquished ownership of the firm in mid-2012 to attorney Cari Donahue.
Unfortunately, Donahue was not immediately approved to submit documents through electronic court filing (ECF) in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, which became a problem in October of that year.
Donahue represented a client filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and requested the use of Alzate’s ECF privileges to submit the necessary documents. Alzate agreed to allow Donahue to use her ECF and have her name listed as the client’s attorney. Donahue informed Alzate that she would file for a substitution as soon as possible.
On Nov. 1, 2012, Donahue submitted the petition, but it was rejected due to various deficiencies in information. She attempted to resubmit without filing for the substitution. The petition was dismissed on Nov. 21, 2012.
The attorney was found guilty of appearing on behalf of a client without consent. However, Alzate submitted seven good-character witnesses and entered into a pre-trial stipulation, mitigating factors in determining discipline.
As part of the disciplinary order, Alzate will be responsible for all court costs and will need to submit quarterly reports to the California State Bar’s Office of Probation.
Alzate is a graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Deigo. She was admitted to the California State Bar in January 2011 and had no prior public record of discipline, though according to court documents, she had received a private reproval in 2015 for failing to pay court sanctions.