SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Department of Justice has disbarred attorney Carla Ruth McBeath from practice before the Department of Homeland Security, the Board the Immigration Appeals and the Immigration Court.
The DOJ announced its decision on April 14.
The Supreme Court of California disbarred attorney Carla Ruth McBeath from the practice of law in California on July 7, 2015, for late or missing probation reports, no proof of required completion of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) courses and failure of restitution payments.
Consequently, on Feb. 29, 2016, the Disciplinary Counsel for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) petitioned for her immediate suspension from practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Immigration Courts.
The Disciplinary Counsel for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) then asked that McBeath be suspended from practice with the same discipline as well.
“The petition is granted, and the respondent is hereby suspended, absent a showing of good cause, from the practice of law before the Board, the Immigration Courts, and the DHS pending final disposition of this proceeding,” the official document said.
McBeath was ordered to promptly notify, in writing, any clients with cases currently pending before the Board, the Immigration Courts or the DHS that she has been suspended from practicing.
The official document explained that McBeath was required to file a timely answer to the allegations contained in the Notice of Intent to Discipline, but failed to do so. Her failure to respond within the time period required was considered an admission of guilt, thus she could not continue a hearing on her case afterwards.
The Notice of Intent to Discipline proposed that McBeath be disbarred from practicing before the Board and the Immigration Courts. The Disciplinary Counsel for DHS asks the Board to extend that discipline to practice before that agency as well.
These proceedings stemmed from an Aug. 6, 2015, order when the State Bar Court found McBeath culpable of not filing her compliance affidavit on time. Luckily, in mitigation, her actions did not cause any client harm.
The Supreme Court decision said she was previously suspended in 2010 for failing to perform legal services with competence, keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments or refund an unearned fee in a single client matter.
“McBeath was disciplined in 2010 after stipulating that in a single client matter, she failed to perform legal services with competence, keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments and refund an unearned fee,” the document said. “Although she communicated regularly with her probation monitor and received extra time to complete continuing education requirements and a deferral of a restitution payment, she did not comply with other probation conditions.”
In the Oct. 15, 2010, matter, McBeath, who was a partner at a New York law firm but practiced immigration law based on her admission in California, stipulated to three counts of misconduct in an immigration matter before an appellate court where she was not admitted. She intended to seek admission to the appellate court through sponsorship of one of her law partners.
McBeath prepared a petition for review for a client, signed by a law partner, and submitted it to the appellate court. When she later left the firm, she offered to continue to represent the client for $3,000. She never became his attorney of record, never filed the brief and the client’s appeal was dismissed. The client paid her $2,600.
McBeath admitted that she failed to perform legal services competently, refund her client’s unearned fee or keep the client reasonably informed about developments in the case.
In mitigation, she cooperated with the bar’s investigation and she had severe financial problems at the time of the misconduct.
“The respondent will be disbarred from practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Immigration Courts and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),” the official document of the final order said.