LOS ANGELES — Esther M. Kim, an attorney in Hesperia, was recently suspended from practicing law.
The State Bar Court of California enacted the 30-day discipline on Jan. 6, after investigating complaints of Kim’s misconduct. The attorney allegedly failed to preform basic legal services in one client matter and effectively communicate with the two clients in regards to their cases.
Kim's suspension ended Feb. 5, and she is eligible to practice law in California.
Two clients hired the attorney in 2013 to represent them in an insurance claim. AAA, an insurance company, had offered the clients a $17,200 settlement. Kim did not inform the clients of the settlement and did not provide the insurance company with documents signed by the clients acknowledging the settlement.
The communication failed between the clients and the attorney as Kim allegedly did not return multiple phone calls or emails made by the clients. In December 2014, the attorney filed a a suit on behalf of the clients but failed to notify the defendant. Eventually Kim stepped down as attorney without taking the proper steps, and the matter remained unresolved until another attorney took the case in August 2015.
Kim served 30 days of stayed suspension followed by two years' probation. The attorney was also ordered to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE). Failure to adhere to any of the terms of her suspension will result in a one-year suspension. The attorney is also responsible for the court costs associated with the state bar’s investigation, which at the time of filing was $5,680. The costs are subject to increase.
The California State Bar was established in 1927 by the state’s legislature and is governed by 19 trustees. The State Bar Court added appointed full-time judges in 1989.