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Washington D.C. Attorney Leicester Stovell Disbarred
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Leicester Bryce Stovell

Summary: The Washington D.C. attorney who claimed he was NBA star LeBron James’ father has been disbarred.

A Washington D.C. lawyer with a grudge against a professional athlete is now without a license to practice law. A former Big Law associate, Leicester Bryce Stovell first gained recognition for filing a lawsuit, claiming he was the father of National Basketball Association star LeBron James. Now the Princeton graduate has lost his license for misappropriating client funds and inadequate representation.

  
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Stovell filed a $4 million lawsuit in 2010 accusing the basketball icon and his mother Gloria James of conspiring to conceal the identity of the star’s biological father, according to Law.com. The documents stated that Stovell met Gloria at a bar in 1984 and had unprotected sex that night. She informed him months later that she was pregnant. A DNA test proved that Stovell was not James’ father, leading to the suit to be denied by a judge based on that evidence and a lack of support showing Stovell had suffered damages. Stovell represented himself in the suit. Stovell tried to argue that James and his mother tampered with the DNA.

This was not the end of Stovell’s fight against James. Stovell went back to court in 2013, filing a defamation suit against James. This time he alleged that the comments James made in a Sports Illustrated article about an absent father during his childhood made him look bad because people would assume it was him due to the first lawsuit. Stovell was not named in the article and a judge agreed that it was silly and dismissed the suit for missing the relevant time limit to bring the suit.

Around this time, Stovell also ended up in disciplinary trouble. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals responded Thursday to his misconduct in 2013 and 2014. The court has disbarred Stovell, upholding recommendations from a professional responsibility board in February that found he had misappropriated client funds and other misconduct. Prior to their findings, a disciplinary hearing committee considered four counts of misconduct from four separate client relationships.

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The committee found that Stovell intentionally took funds from at least two of his clients and failed to keep client money in an attorney trust account. With a third client, the committee found that Stovell failed to keep records of client funds. With his fourth client, who came to Stovell for a child support problem, he failed to do his duty to represent her interests and keep her informed on her case. He ended up abandoning that client in her child support case. The disciplinary committee also found he “failed the legal system by engaging in dishonest acts and seriously interfering with the administration of justice.”

He claimed his misconduct was accidental due to his inexperience with practice management issues. The hearing committee did not believe him. They wrote, “Respondent offered no mitigation evidence beyond his testimony that he had previously worked in law firms and a regulatory agency that had not required him to keep an [attorney trust] account. Such evidence is not sufficient to rebut the presumptive sanction of disbarment.”



For the last 15 years, Stovell has been a solo practitioner, but earlier in his career, he was an associate with Baker & Hostetler and Jenner & Block. He also spent nearly 20 years with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a legal adviser, according to his LinkedIn page.

Do you think Stovell’s focus on James caused him to mess up on his other work? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about other paternity tests, read these articles:

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