Story Archive

Legal Requirements

Kimberly Kitchen, 45, was about to make partner at BMZ Law in Huntingdon, Pa. She’d worked there for a decade and helped more than 30 clients plan their estates. She’d even been president of the county bar association. But according to state officials, there were a couple of important things she hadn’t done: go to law school, and get admitted to the practice of law — or in short, become a lawyer. The documents that said otherwise, officials say, were fake; state prosecutors charged her with forgery and unauthorized practice of law. Blaine Jones, a criminal defense lawyer, noted that Kitchen might have learned her job by doing it, but argued that it takes a legal education to understand why some things need to be done. “Law school teaches you the theory, and that’s basically the foundation,” said Jones. BMZ Law has said it would review her cases. (AC/AP) ...Without law school, she’s not a real lawyer. But if the review doesn’t find mistakes, did her clients need a real lawyer?
In March 2016, Kitchen was convicted of forgery, unauthorized practice of law, and record tampering. “We think that she had no intent to defraud,” said the real lawyer who defended her.
Original Publication Date: 12 April 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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