LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California ruled on Nov. 20, 2016, to suspend attorney Tiffany Carrie Stevens from the practice of law, according to the group's website.
The attorney, who resides in Brooklyn, New York, failed to meet the Minimum Continuing Legal Education requirements. All attorneys registered with the California State Bar must complete a minimum of 25 course hours to keep their eligibility status.
According to court documents, the period in which Stevens was required to complete her coursework was between Feb. 1, 2011 and Jan. 31, 2014. On June 25, 2014, the attorney reported to the State Bar that she had completed the 25 hours and therefore was compliant with the conditions of her bar eligibility. This statement was made under penalty of perjury.
Upon investigation into the validity of her claim, the State Bar of California found Stevens had completed only one of the 25 hours necessary during the compliance period. The State Bar sent a notice of their intent to audit the attorney July 7, 2014, and requested her proof of completion be submitted by Aug. 21 of that year. Stevens allegedly failed to do so.
An investigation into the matter was initiated Oct. 13, 2015. Stevens again failed to respond to the communication sent by the State Bar. The investigator sent a second letter on Jan. 4, 2016, but that also went without response. According to court documents, Stevens had not practiced law since 2007 and was not representing clients.
Mitigating factors taken into account by the State Bar Court included Stevens’ extensive charity and pro bono work. The attorney volunteers once a month for a breast cancer crisis hotline, sits on the board of global anti-poverty organization, and helped found an organization that brings educational services to Pakistan. Stevens also provided six witnesses to attest to her good character. In addition, Stevens voluntarily entered into the suspension, saving the State Bar time and resources.
Stevens will be placed on one year of stayed suspension, 30 days of which are mandatory. She also is required to serve one year of probation. In addition to her suspension, Stevens will be required to take the MPRE. Failure to pass the exam will result in another suspension without hearing.
Stevens will not need to complete ethics school as she resides and practices in New York. She will also not be required to follow Rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court, which would require her to alert all clients, if she was practicing, of her eligibility status. Stevens was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2003, according to her profile page.
The California State Bar was established in 1927 by the state’s legislature and is governed by 19 trustees. Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases can be located online at calbar.ca.gov.