California-licensed attorney in Portland receives reproval for delay in adoption case

By Olivia Olsen | Jul 7, 2017

Raylynna Jean Peterson, a California licensed attorney working in Portland, Oregon, received a public reproval from the State Bar Court of California. The order, issued Jan. 4, was given due to misconduct the attorney allegedly committed in Oregon. 

The stipulation released by the State Bar Court of California, though still pending an effective date, outlines the information provided to California from the Oregon disciplinary proceedings. According to the “Facts Found in Other Jurisdiction,” Peterson was hired by a woman in October 2012 to help her legally adopt her two grandchildren. For her services, Peterson was paid $3,000 and provided with the information and documentation necessary to complete the legal process. In return, the attorney’s office advised the client the matter “would take no more than four months.” 

During the first 2 1/2 months after payment was relinquished, the client contacted Peterson several times to receive an update on the matter. Allegedly during that time, the attorney’s only work on the case was to “instruct the paralegal to find the birth father.” When the client called to demand her money back in January 2013, the attorney’s office informed the client that their case had been put on the back burner, but that she would tend to the matter.

The petition for adoption was not filed until March 2013. The adoption was eventually approved in June 2013 but was not finalized until October 2013 as the attorney allegedly failed to submit the judgement to the courts until August.

For the misconduct, Peterson received a 60-day stayed suspension with two years' probation in Orgeon according to her membership profile in the state. She received the public reproval in California and remains entitled to practice law. Paterson is a graduate of the Whittier College School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar in 1997. She has been a member of the Oregon State Bar since  2002. The attorney had no record of discipline prior to the incident listed on either of her state bar membership pages other than a suspension for failing to pay bar membership dues. 

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