Riverside attorney Elisa Ann Castro was suspended by the State Bar Court of California on Jan. 30, in response to her alleged failure to take or pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) as part of the terms of a 2015 suspension.
According to the suspension, Castro was charged with misconduct in two matters, the first of which began in April 2013. The attorney was hired to represent a woman in her divorce and custody proceedings which she performed services. The client made partial payments for a total of $3,500 between April 2013 and January 2014 when the client terminated Castro's employment. The client requested for the fees to be returned, but the attorney allegedly was unable to provide her with an accounting. The state bar charged Castro with failing to render an accounting and failing to respond to the state bar’s inquiry.
In the second matter, Castro was hired in February 2014 to represent a woman in a family law matter. For her services, Castro was paid $1,000 to take over the woman’s case, although it was later discovered that Castro had never officially substituted into the matter. In addition, Castro allegedly did not provide a response to a proposed settlement agreement. In March 2014, the client terminated Castro’s employment and requested her fees be returned, though the attorney never responded.
In addition to the two misconduct charges, the State Bar found that Castro violated Business and Professions Code 6068(i) when she did not respond to inquiry letters regard two additional complaints.
As a result of the misconduct charges, Castro was suspended for 90 days and ordered to take the MPRE by a predetermined deadline. When the attorney failed to adhere to this requirement, the State Bar Court placed her on another suspension until she could provide them with proof of passage of the exam.
Castro is a graduate of the University of Southern California and obtained her law degree from the Loyola University Law School. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1994. She has one prior instance of discipline, a five-year probation in 2008 in lieu of a stayed suspension for either abandoning her clients or not providing adequate work according to the news release on her bar membership profile.