SAN FRANCISCO (Northern California Record) — Sacramento attorney Julius Michael Engel faces disbarment following a California State Bar Court recommendation after he was found culpable in six counts of misconduct.
Engel allegedly failed to act with competence and to return unearned fees, practice law while unauthorized, committed misrepresentation and failed to notify clients and opposing counsel of his suspension, according to the 35-page decision and order of involuntary inactive enrollment issued June 8 by the state bar court.
The state bar's recommendation 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.
Engel's recommended discipline was among the dispositions filed earlier this month by the state bar court's hearing department for June. Engel was admitted to the bar in California Dec. 7, 1988, according to his profile at the state bar website.
In July 2016 Engel, then 60, was suspended for six months and was placed on two years' probation for allegations that included trust account violations, failure to perform services of value and failure to refund unearned fees, according to information on his state bar profile. "Engel commingled personal funds in his client trust account," the information on his profile said. "He did not maintain records to distinguish one client's money from another and his earned fees remained in his account until he wrote checks from the accounts for business or personal expenses."
In one of two other matters, Engels also allegedly failed to file a client's bankruptcy petition to delay her eviction. "Engel later complained about the client to her employer claiming she committed perjury during the small claims hearing," the information on his state bar profile said. "Although the investigation turned up nothing, it became part of the client’s personnel file."
In March 2017, Engel was suspended for one year and placed on three years' probation over alleged misconduct in two matters with serious aggravating circumstances. "In one case, Engel closed his office and ceased communicating with a couple who, though consumed with debt, had paid him $2,000 to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in an effort to save their home from foreclosure through a loan modification," his state bar profile said.