LOS ANGELES — Jerome Donald Handley, a San Jose attorney, was recently disbarred by the State Bar Court of California.
Handley, who specialized in probate, real estate law and trusts, allegedly failed to adequately preform legal services in one client matter, according to the court's Feb. 4 ruling.
Handley was hired by a client in late 2014 or early 2015 to handle a probate matter. According to court documents, the attorney allegedly failed to file a petition on his client’s behalf. Handley was also found culpable of failing to promptly respond to a client’s request for case status and failing to return client papers when requested. Lastly, Handley did not return $1,000 in unearned fees after the termination of his services.
The state bar sent a notice of disciplinary charges to the address Handley had on file with his membership records Dec. 1, 2015. The notice advised the attorney that a lack of response would result in a recommendation of disbarment, but the notice was returned to sender.
Another attempt was made on Jan. 13, 2016, via telephone and email to several different numbers and addresses to no avail. A default was entered for the attorney, and a petition for disbarment was filed May 10, 2016.
Handley is required to notify all of his clients of the ruling, deliver any papers necessary to clients in regards to their cases, return any fees that remain unearned and alert opposing counsel in any pending litigation of his disbarment. In addition, the attorney is ordered to pay $1,000 in restitution to his client and cover all court costs.
Handley, 48, was admitted to the California State Bar in 2002 after graduating from the Golden Gate University School of Law. He had no prior record of discipline but was deemed an inactive bar member in 2015 due to failure to meet minimum continuing legal education requirements and not paying membership fees.