Los Angeles attorney Jeffrey Allen Lewiston faces stayed suspension and probation following a California State Bar recommendation regarding 14 counts of misconduct in seven client matters in states where Lewiston is not licensed to practice law and which ended with a Federal Trade Commission investigation in 2013.
The state bar recommended the California Supreme Court hand down a stayed two-year suspension of Lewiston and that he be placed on two years' probation, according to the 38-page decision issued Oct. 6. Lewiston was accused of violating rules of professional conduct in the unauthorized practice of law in another jurisdiction and accepting illegal fees, according to the decision.
Lewiston's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for October. Lewiston was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 12, 1986, according to his profile at the state bar website. Lewiston had no prior discipline, according to his profile and the decision.
In 2012, Lewiston became involved with a nationwide loan modification business operated largely by A to Z Marketing and set up a domestic profit corporation, Top Legal Advocates (TLA), in Michigan with Lewiston as the sole employee, according to the decision.
TLA Clients received work done largely by non-attorneys at A to Z Marketing, according to the decision. This arrangement continued until February 2013 when the FTC began an action against A to Z Marketing and other similar companies, the decision said.
Lewiston is licensed to practice law in Michigan but has never been admitted to the bars in North Carolina, Washington state, New York, Illinois or Georgia, according to the state bar's decision. The state bar's case against Lewiston involved clients from those states, according to the decision.
The state bar filed its notice of disciplinary charges against Lewiston on Dec. 16, 2015, according to the state bar's decision. Lewiston, in his response filed the following month, denied all allegations of misconduct, according to the decision.
The state bar's proceedings against Lewiston were complicated by the Federal Trade Commission's seizure of the attorney's client files, the decision said. The FTC released pertinent documents if this past February and the one-day trial occurred in June with an additional document entered in July.