Northern California Record

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Santa Monica attorney faces suspension, probation for allegedly accepting settlement offers for dead client

Discipline

By Karen Kidd | Jun 11, 2019

Money

SAN FRANCISCO – Santa Monica attorney Edmond Elias Salem faces suspension and probation following a May 16 California Supreme Court order over allegations he settled a case on behalf of a deceased client, according to a recent report issued by the State Bar of California and court documents.

Salem was alleged to have misrepresented and concealed material facts, according to the state bar's report

The Supreme Court handed down a stayed one-year suspension and two years of conditional probation with the first 90 days spent on suspension. Conditions of Salem's probation include passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination as previously recommended by the California State Bar Court's Hearing Department.

Failing to comply with the conditions of his probation "may result in disbarment or suspension," the Supreme Court's order said.

Salem also was ordered to pay costs.

Salem's discipline will be effective Saturday, June 15, according to an announcement recently posted on the state bar's website.

Salem was admitted to the bar in California on Dec. 2, 2003, according to his profile at the state bar website. Salem had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to his profile.

The Supreme Court's order followed a recommendation issued by the California State Bar Court in December that recommended the court hand down the suspension and probation. The State Bar Court's recommendation followed charges against Salem of two counts each for allegedly concealing a material fact from opposing counsel and allegedly simulating a client's signature on two different settlement agreements.

Salem was alleged to have accepted settlement offers on his client's behalf and signed the client's name to required settlement documents and settlement checks, which he deposited into his client trust account, according to the 20-page recommendation. Salem also disbursed the proceeds of the settlements, less his fees and expense, to his client's estate, according to the recommendation.

"[Salem]'s mistaken impression that he did not have to disclose the fact that his client died before disbursing the settlement proceeds was in error - a fact [Salem] would have discovered if he had researched the issue," the recommendation said.

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State Bar of CaliforniaCalifornia Supreme CourtState Bar Court of California

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