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Law Firm “Partner” Not Really a Lawyer?
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Carlos M. Sada of the Mexican Embassy (left) with Mauricio R. CelisMauricio R. Celis, the majority partner in former Corpus Christi, Texas, law firm CGT Law Group, goes to trial in Corpus Christi today. Prosecutors are pointing to a little-used law that makes it a crime to impersonate a lawyer for economic benefit.

Celis, who claims to be a Mexican lawyer, faces 23 counts of falsely holding oneself out as a lawyer.

Celis, who is represented by J.A. Canales of Canales & Simonson, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

  
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Under §38.122 of the Texas Penal Code, falsely holding oneself out as a lawyer is a third-degree felony, which carries a punishment of two years to 10 years in prison.

The case asks whether the 37-year-old Celis, who attended law school in Mexico, is in fact a Mexican lawyer and, if not, whether he falsely held himself out as a lawyer for economic benefit.

The 2007 indictment alleges Celis falsely held himself out as a lawyer on or about November 1st, 2005, by stating on business letterhead, on a business card, on a business fax cover sheet and on a business Web page that he was licensed in Mexico “and the defendant was not then and there licensed to practice law in this state, another state, or a foreign country and was not then and there in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and the state bar or licensing authority of any state or foreign country where the defendant was licensed to practice law.”

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Questions about Celis’ legal credentials arose in the fall of 2007, when Corpus Christi plaintiffs personal-injury lawyer Thomas J. Henry began running television advertisements questioning the credentials of Celis, a partner in CGT. Henry says he bought the ads because he was tired of waiting for the Texas UPLC to take action on a complaint about Celis he had filed in May 2007.

Via Texas Lawyer.





 

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