Walnut Creek attorney disbarred, allegedly failed to prepare client's will

By Kerry Goff | Aug 3, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – Tina Tran, an attorney who practices in Walnut Creek, was disbarred March 18 after being charged with five violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Business and Professions Code.

In the official Supreme Court document, it explained that Tran failed to participate, either in person or through counsel; therefore, a default admission of guilt was accepted. The Office of the Chief Trial Counsel also filed a petition for disbarment.

“The law provides that if an attorney’s default is entered for failing to respond to the notice of disciplinary charges (NDC), and the attorney fails to have the default set aside or vacated within 90 days, the State Bar will file a petition requesting the court to recommend the attorney’s disbarment,” the petition said.

In Tran’s case, the court also concluded that the requirements for disbarment had been satisfied and disbarred her from the practice of law.

First, the Supreme Court document stated that Tran willfully failed to perform legal services with competence by failing to prepare a will on behalf of her client, Anita Heidisch-Becker.

Second, Tran allegedly failed to respond to reasonable client status inquiries and to inform the client of significant developments by not staying in contact with the client. She was also accused of willfully violating the Rules of Professional Conduct, mainly the failure to return client papers and property when it was requested by the client. That included allegedly never returning the $3,000 in unearned fees to the client.

Tran was also accused of not cooperating with the State Bar after their request for information, which also violates Codes of Conduct set forth by the Bar.

Based on the evidence provided, the court ordered that Tran be disbarred from the practice of law in the state and that her name be stricken from the roll of attorneys.

“The court concludes that the requirements of rule 5.85(F) have been satisfied, and (Tran’s) disbarment is recommended,” the document said.

“The court also recommends that (Tran) be ordered to make restitution to Anita Heidisch-Becker in the amount of $3,000 plus 10 percent interest per year from Jan. 15, 2014,” the order said. “Any restitution owed to the Client Security Fund is enforceable as provided in Business and Professions Code section 6140.5, subdivisions (c) and (d).”

The court also recommended that Tran be ordered to comply with the requirements of the California Rules of Court and to perform the acts specified within 30 and 40 days, respectively, after the effective date of the Supreme Court order.

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