IN THE UNITED STATES BANKRUPTCY COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
MICHAEL and KAREN LAWRENCE, No. 94-1002
STEVE T. RUDONI, No. 93-13132
PAUL DAVID MILLER, No. 94-10744
ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR APPOINTMENT
OF ATTORNEY FOR TRUSTEE
The trustee in these Chapter 7 cases has asked the court to approve the appointment of an
attorney who is not a member of the State Bar of California. The proposed attorney has moved
to California from Michigan and opened up a local office, but has not become a member of the
Although the proposed attorney is admitted to practice in this court by virtue of his
membership in the bar of another state, this does not automatically mean that the court must
appoint him as counsel in bankruptcy proceedings. While the court rarely denies the trustee
leave to employ whomever he wishes, the court is obligated to exercise its discretion in order
to protect the estate. It is not in the best interest of the bankruptcy estates to employ an attorney
who has moved to California but has not become a member of the California bar.
This is the first time that a panel trustee has sought to employ an attorney who is not a
member of the California bar in this court. The court has experienced great difficulties with
debtors in possession who have used out-of-state counsel, and understands that as a result of
these problems and those experienced in other courts that the district court is moving to change
its rules so that such counsel cannot set up permanent shop here without becoming a member
of the California Bar. Among other problems, such attorneys are immune from discipline by
California and often mislead members of the public who do not understand the nuances of
federal as opposed to state practice.
The court does not have the resources to police the actions of its bar. Attorneys for trustees
are often placed in very sensitive fiduciary positions. The State Bar of California exercises
increasingly effective oversight over members of its bar. It is not in the best interest of
bankruptcy estates to employ professionals who are immune from such oversight.
For the foregoing reasons, the trustee's application will be denied. Any request for
reconsideration shall be by motion noticed to the debtors, all creditors, and the U.S. Trustee.
Dated: May 10, 1994 _______________________