In Uncategorized on 10/21/2016 at 00:39

And There Are Phonies

 Judge Chiechi finds that some phonies are less phony than others, and that sinks Michael Shamrock and Victoria Bigg, 2016 T. C. Memo. 193, filed 10/20/16.

Refresh your recollection with my blogpost “A Phony,” 1/30/15. The person in question, though admitted to the IL Bar, was on the inactive list because he didn’t pay his registration fee. And he told IRS via a Form 2848 POA, and told Tax Court in his Entry of Appearance, that he was a lawyer.

A mere nothing, says Judge Chiechi.

Judge Chiechi survived the motion to recuse, Mike’s & Vic’s new lawyer’s brilliant argument falls flat, and the former phony is lauded by Judge Chichi as having provided Mike & Vic “competent, valuable, diligent, and effective assistance,” 2016 T. C. Memo. at pp. 10, 73, 76, 77, 78, 80, 88, 94 and 95. I never saw any properly dues-paying lawyer so praised in any Tax Court opinion.

As IL law is involved, Seventh Circuit weighed in on the nonpayment suspension in a criminal effective-assistance case. “…persons who obtain [legal] credentials by fraud * * * are classes apart from persons who satisfied the court of their legal skills but later ran afoul of some technical rule. Lawyers who do not pay their dues violate a legal norm, but not one established for the protection of clients; suspensions used to wring money from lawyers’ pockets do not stem from any doubt about their ability to furnish zealous and effective assistance.” 2016 T. C. Memo. 193, at p. 64. (Citation omitted).

And he forgot to pay because of a personal tragedy.

I wish NY were so forgiving. And that Judge Chiechi had some kind words for attorneys who pay up. Here, in the Empire State, it’s a disciplinary offense not to pay up, however sad a tale you may tell. If it’s only a “whoops!” in IL, I wonder that any lawyer pays.

And I paid thirty (count ‘em, thirty) bucks for my admission to Tax Court. I feel silly. I could have gotten in for free, if I played my cards right.

“The entry of appearance form that Mr. N had provided to the trial clerk did not show a ‘Tax Court Bar Number’ in the appropriate place in that entry of appearance form that requires such a number to be shown. That was because Mr. N had not applied to be, and consequently was not, admitted to practice before the Court before the October 28, 2013 Chicago trial session commenced. As a result, the Court had not assigned a Tax Court bar number to him.” 2016 T. C. Memo. 193, at p. 40. (Name omitted).

No biggie. Mr N went right on giving Mike & Vic his ““competent, valuable, diligent, and effective assistance” notwithstanding.

Of course, the only reason Mike & Vic denounced Mr N.’s lapse from grace was the stip he entered made them pay more than they wanted. The new lawyer pointed out Mr N’s  minor registration deliction (amazing how few clients search the relevant websites when engaging counsel), and suggested a case that would save the day.

Except it didn’t. Mr N’s advice was as aforesaid above the price of rubies. Mike & Vic are stuck with their stip. And new lawyer, who presumably did pay and got properly admitted to USTC, barely escapes a Section 6673 chop.

Ya can’t make this stuff up.

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