On Wednesday, the State Bar of California said that a graduate of the University of California Hastings College of Law should not be allowed to practice law in the state for lying about suffering from a disability so she could be given more time on the 2009 bar exam, according to the Am Law Daily.
In July of 2009, lawyer Leah Harmuth was given time and a half to take the bar exam in a somewhat-private room after she claimed in her application from March of 2009 that she suffered from a disability and was given the same accommodations while studying for her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania. The disability was not disclosed because of confidentiality issues.
Officials from the bar in California were alerted to the lie in August of 2011 by the New York State Board of Law Examiners. The New York Board of Law Examiners said that Harmuth asked for the same accommodations from them under penalty of perjury in the application she filed in February of 2011 for the bar exam in New York.
The board discovered that Harmuth was not granted those accommodations while an undergraduate, which led the board to ban her from taking the exam and from applying for admission to the bar in New York for two years.
Officials from the bar in California were told of Harmuth’s New York issues by herself in September of 2011, which led to an investigation that took roughly a year to complete. The investigation found that a professor at Penn gave Harmuth “unofficial testing accommodations.” The investigation also found letters that spoke of Harmuth’s good character from 11 different people, some of whom were in the legal industry.
It was recommended on Wednesday that the license for Harmuth be canceled and she has accepted those terms. The high court in the state has yet to approve the recommendations.
Harmuth has to let all of her clients and opposing counsel know the change in her status as a lawyer within one month of receiving a final order that confirms her legal license has been cancelled. She also has to return any fees she earned and papers and property to her clients.