SAN FRANCISCO — Danville attorney Daniel Herbert Neufeld, practicing in California for almost 42 years, faces disbarment by default following a State Bar of California recommendation over five counts of misconduct.
Four of the five counts of misconduct against Neufeld arose from a single client matter, according to the eight-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued Jan. 11 by the state bar court. In that loan modification matter, Neufeld was accused of collecting a $13,000 advance fee before he had fully performed all services for which he'd been hired, according to the decision and order. Neufeld also failed to provide his client with an accounting of advance fee and failed to issue a prompt refund when his employment was terminated
The advance fee was illegal, according to the decision and order.
The state bar's decision is pending final action by the California Supreme Court, an appeal before the state bar's review department or expiration of time in which parties may request further review within the state bar court.
Neufeld failed to participate in person or via counsel, and the state bar's decision and order for disbarment was entered by default. In such cases, in which an attorney fails to participate in a California State Bar disciplinary proceeding despite adequate notice and opportunity, the bar invokes Rule 5.85, which provides the procedure for the state bar to recommend an attorney’s disbarment.
Neufeld's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for January.
Neufeld was admitted to the bar in California on May 11, 1976, according to his profile at the state bar website.
On count five, the state bar court found Neufeld failed to comply with conditions of a previous probation for not submitting timely quarterly reports and failing to pay $16,050 in restitution by July 16, 2016, according to the decision and order.
In that prior discipline, Neufeld received a stayed one-year suspension, was placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the multistate professional responsibility examination following a July 2014 state Supreme Court order, according to information on his state bar profile. Prior to that order, Neufeld stipulated that he was culpable of sharing legal fees with a nonlawyer.