High Court won't reinstate Vegas lawyer

The Nevada Supreme Court has refused to give Las Vegas lawyer J. Michael Schaefer his law license.

Schaefer was disbarred in June 2001 for what the court described as "a blatant disregard by Schaefer for the rights of others and the administration of justice."

Schaefer has run for political office at least a dozen times in both Nevada and California. Most recently, he lost a race against Ray Shafer for the Nevada Senate. Shafer, the incumbent, was ultimately beaten by John Lee.

But he has also run for the U.S. Senate and for Congress - losing in a race to replace the retiring Barbara Vucanovich a decade ago.

He filed for reinstatement to practice law in Nevada but the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board recommended the Supreme Court deny him.

After reviewing the record, the high court also agreed with the bar panel that Schaefer has failed "to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he has the required moral qualifications, competency and learning in the law to practice in this state."

The court ruling was unanimous with Justice Mark Gibbons abstaining.

In the opinion disbarring him from practice, the high court said Schaefer had been sanctioned by the California Bar Association in 1993 and suspended for a year in 1997.

It said he also had a public reprimand in Texas. The court added that he failed to reveal his disciplinary record to the Nevada bar association - a record that goes back to a 1981 reprimand.

The opinion stated there is no indication Schaefer will ever change his ways, adding that he still refuses to admit he ever did anything wrong.

He was accused of violating the rules barring a lawyer from directly contacting parties in the opposite side of a case when he knew they had legal counsel. The opinion said he also violated the rules by requesting that a witness refrain from providing information in a case, committed battery on an individual involved in a legal dispute and violating the rules of professional conduct for lawyers.

n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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