Crawford v. State Bar of Cal., S.F. 20290

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (California)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation355 P.2d 490,7 Cal.Rptr. 746,54 Cal.2d 659
Parties, 355 P.2d 490 Phillip Neal CRAWFORD, Petitioner, v. STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.
Docket NumberS.F. 20290
Decision Date20 September 1960

Page 746

7 Cal.Rptr. 746
54 Cal.2d 659, 355 P.2d 490
Phillip Neal CRAWFORD, Petitioner,
v.
STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA, Respondent.
S.F. 20290.
Supreme Court of California.
Sept. 20, 1960.

Page 747

[355 P.2d 491] [54 Cal.2d 662] Wallace S. Myers, San Anselmo, for petitioner.

Garrett H. Elmore, San Francisco, for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

Petitioner seeks the annulment of a resolution adopted ny eight of the thirteen members of the Board of Governors of The State Bar present and voting that he be publicly reproved for violation of Rule 3, Rules of Professional Ethics (52 Cal.2d 896). The local committee had recommended that no disciplinary action be taken.

Petitioner, now 35 years old, was admitted to the bar in 1953, after which he practiced in Sacramento for approximately fourteen months. His father, Howard G. Crawford, was admitted in 1923 and practiced in Lakeport continually thereafter. In May 1954, after the Board of Governors had recommended Howard's disbarment, petitioner and his father formed a partnership, the profits from which were to be divided equally. Formal announcements of the partnership were sent out at that time. Howard was disbarred on September 16, 1954. After his disbarment he remained in the same office, kept his secretary, and continued his practice as a tax consultant. His name was no longer used as an attorney, and he did not appear in court, but he did confer directly with clients with respect to the preparation of deeds and birth certificates, probate matters, escrows and real estate deals, mining claims, and the dissolution of a partnership. He also referred his tax clients to petitioner for other legal advice. Petitioner and Howard continued to divide the profits from the entire business equally.

Before the formation of the partnership, the legend on the office window had real 'H. G. Crawford Attorney at Law Notary Public,' the stationery bore the letterhead 'Law offices of H. G. Crawford,' and the bank accounts were maintained in the name of H. G. Crawford. No change was made in any of these until after Howard was disbarred. The window sign was then changed to read 'Crawford & Crawford Attorney at Law Tax Consultant.'

Page 748

[355 P.2d 492] The new stationery bore the heading 'Offices of Crawford & Crawford' with 'Phil N. Crawford' designated as 'Attorney at Law' and 'H. G. Crawford' at 'Tax Consultant' in the top left margin. The letterhead had only a single phone number and address. Letters relating to all matters in the office were mailed to clients on this stationery, and many relation to the tax practice, to billing in regard to the legal practice, and to escrows, mining claims and the like were signed by H. G. Crawford without [54 Cal.2d 663] any title or identification other than that on the letterhead. Envelopes, checks, and statements bore only the firm name without any identification as to its members.

In October 1954 new bank accounts in the name of 'Crawford & Crawford' were opened by Phil and Howard acting jointly, and the old H. G. Crawford accounts were closed. The printed signature cards relative to the new accounts contained the following statement over the signature of both Crawfords: '(2) That it is mutually understood that the undersigned doing business under the trade or partnership name of Crawford & Crawford are owners as copartners and constitute all the members of the partnership. * * *' Although the form of the card provided for the alternative, Howard was not thereon designated merely as an authorized signer on the account of petitioner as sole owner.

All the receipts from petitioner's business and from Howard's tax consultations were deposited in these accounts. Firm costs were advanced and all operating expenses paid out of the Crawford & Crawford account. Each withdrew what he needed with the understanding that withdrawals would be kept as even as possible. Only one set of books was maintained.

On March 25, 1955, during the period of disbarment, Howard made a sworn statement before petitioner as notary public on a creditor's claim of 'Crawford and Crawford' that 'he is one of the members of the firm of Crawford and Crawford' (italics added). On February 2, 1955, petitioner, before Howard as notary public, had made an identical sworn statement on a similar creditor's claim.

Howard had had a large practice in Lakeport. Assets connected with his law office, including accounts receivable, totaled approximately $41,265.28. Petitioner's position is that in keeping with his father's wish not to abandon his clients and to stay in Lakeport to rehabilitate himself, petitioner employed his father to work for him as a law clerk, bookkeeper, and office manager, and to conduct a tax practice. Petitioner testified that his father was to receive about $400 per month for these services and that his father's withdrawals beyond that sum were to constitute a partial payment for his assets. There was no written agreement of sale, however, nor was any agreement reached as to the valuation of these assets. It was not until March 1957, after petitioner was informed of the present investigation, that he undertook an accounting of past operations, a valuation of assets, and a definite fixing of Howard's salary including withholding tax. At about the same time [54 Cal.2d 664] petitioner's law office, bank accounts, letterheads and so forth became clearly identified, and Howard moved to another location to conduct an independent tax practice.

The local committee found that although petitioner may have acted imprudently in allowing his father to continue working under circumstances that might have the appearance of a partnership for the practice of law, he did so in good faith and there was no actual partnership; that his father did not practice law; that petitioner was indebted to his father for the physical assets; and that the fact that all proceeds went into a common fund did not necessarily prove a partnership. Petitioner contends that these are the only supportable findings. He further contends that the use of the name 'Crawford & Crawford' was not improper.

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31 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...3000 (Fla. 1975); In re Kraus, 670 P.2d 1012 (Ore. 1983); In re Easler, 272 S.E.2d 32 (S.C. 1980); Crawford v. State Bar of California, 7 Cal. Rptr. 746 (Cal. 1960); and Ohio State Bar Ass'n. v. Hart, 375 N.E.2d 1246 (Ohio 1978). Like a suspended or disbarred attorney, who ``is not the same......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...3000 (Fla. 1975); In re Kraus, 670 P.2d 1012 (Ore. 1983); In re Easler, 272 S.E.2d 32 (S.C. 1980); Crawford v. State Bar of California, 7 Cal. Rptr. 746 (Cal. 1960); and Ohio State Bar Ass'n. v. Hart, 375 N.E.2d 1246 (Ohio 1978). Like a suspended or disbarred attorney, who ``is not the same......
  • Gmerek v. State Ethics Com'n
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
    • May 18, 2000
    ...or not it might under some circumstances be properly performed by others not admitted to the bar.); Crawford v. State Bar of California, 54 Cal.2d 659, 667-668, 355 P.2d 490, 495, 7 Cal.Rptr. 746, 751 (1960) ("[A]lthough Howard's services might lawfully have been performed by title companie......
  • Utz, In re, No. S005651
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 30, 1989
    ...be depending in a court." (People v. Merchants Protective Corp. (1922) 189 Cal. 531, 535, 209 P. 363; see Crawford v. State Bar (1960) 54 Cal.2d 659, 667-668, 7 Cal.Rptr. 746, 355 P.2d 470; People v. Sipper (1943) 61 Cal.App.2d Supp. 844, 846, 142 P.2d 960; 7 Cal.Jur.3d, Attorneys at Law § ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
29 cases
  • Gmerek v. State Ethics Com'n
    • United States
    • Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
    • May 18, 2000
    ...or not it might under some circumstances be properly performed by others not admitted to the bar.); Crawford v. State Bar of California, 54 Cal.2d 659, 667-668, 355 P.2d 490, 495, 7 Cal.Rptr. 746, 751 (1960) ("[A]lthough Howard's services might lawfully have been performed by title companie......
  • Utz, In re, No. S005651
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • March 30, 1989
    ...be depending in a court." (People v. Merchants Protective Corp. (1922) 189 Cal. 531, 535, 209 P. 363; see Crawford v. State Bar (1960) 54 Cal.2d 659, 667-668, 7 Cal.Rptr. 746, 355 P.2d 470; People v. Sipper (1943) 61 Cal.App.2d Supp. 844, 846, 142 P.2d 960; 7 Cal.Jur.3d, Attorneys at Law § ......
  • Segretti v. State Bar
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • January 27, 1976
    ...5 Cal.3d 390, 400, 96 Cal.Rptr. 448, 487 P.2d 1016.) He was only 30 years old at the time of the misconduct (Crawford v. State Bar (1960) 54 Cal.2d 659, 669, 7 Cal.Rptr. 746, 355 P.2d 490) and thought he was acting under 'the umbrella of the White House.' It is important to note that the mi......
  • People v. Perez, Cr. 20630
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 26, 1979
    ...661, 552 P.2d 445; Bluestein v. State Bar (1974) 13 Cal.3d 162, 173, 118 Cal.Rptr. 175, 529 P.2d 599; Crawford v. State Bar (1960) 54 Cal.2d 659, 668, 7 Cal.Rptr. 746, 355 P.2d I do not suggest that Loo should be prosecuted for violating Business and Professions Code section 6126, for he ac......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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