It may appear petty - failing to pass exam. The issue is a matter of competence. Attorney Castro has demonstrated some issues of concern and was required to "pass an exam." She has REFUSED to be tested. FIne, that is a choice and the result is the suspension of her license to practice law until she can prove her competence.
Riverside attorney Elisa Ann Castro was suspended by the State Bar Court of California on Jan. 30, in response to her alleged failure to take or pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) as part of the terms of a 2015 suspension.
According to the suspension, Castro was charged with misconduct in two matters, the first of which began in April 2013. The attorney was hired to represent a woman in her divorce and custody proceedings which she performed services. The client made partial payments for a total of $3,500 between April 2013 and January 2014 when the client terminated Castro's employment. The client requested for the fees to be returned, but the attorney allegedly was unable to provide her with an accounting. The state bar charged Castro with failing to render an accounting and failing to respond to the state bar’s inquiry.
In the second matter, Castro was hired in February 2014 to represent a woman in a family law matter. For her services, Castro was paid $1,000 to take over the woman’s case, although it was later discovered that Castro had never officially substituted into the matter. In addition, Castro allegedly did not provide a response to a proposed settlement agreement. In March 2014, the client terminated Castro’s employment and requested her fees be returned, though the attorney never responded.
In addition to the two misconduct charges, the State Bar found that Castro violated Business and Professions Code 6068(i) when she did not respond to inquiry letters regard two additional complaints.
As a result of the misconduct charges, Castro was suspended for 90 days and ordered to take the MPRE by a predetermined deadline. When the attorney failed to adhere to this requirement, the State Bar Court placed her on another suspension until she could provide them with proof of passage of the exam.
Castro is a graduate of the University of Southern California and obtained her law degree from the Loyola University Law School. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 1994. She has one prior instance of discipline, a five-year probation in 2008 in lieu of a stayed suspension for either abandoning her clients or not providing adequate work according to the news release on her bar membership profile.
Source: Northern California Report
Elisa Ann Castro - #171814
Current Status: Not eligible to practice law (Not Entitled)
See below for more details.
The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.
|Address:||Law Office of Elisa A Castro
4063 Brockton Ave
Riverside, CA 92501
|Phone Number:||(951) 369-7808|
|Fax Number:||Not Available|
|County:||Riverside||Undergraduate School:||Univ of Southern Calif; Los Angeles CA|
|Sections:||None||Law School:||Loyola Law School; Los Angeles CA|
|Effective Date||Status Change|
|Present||Not Eligible To Practice Law in CA|
|1/30/2017||Not Eligible To Practice Law in CA|
|11/15/2015||Not Eligible To Practice Law in CA|
|9/7/1994||Admitted to The State Bar of California|
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law in California
|Effective Date||Description||Case Number||Resulting Status|
|9/1/2017||Suspended, failed to pay Bar membr. fees||Not Eligible To Practice Law in CA|
Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.
State Bar Court Cases
NOTE: The State Bar Court began posting public discipline documents online in 2005. The format and pagination of documents posted on this site may vary from the originals in the case file as a result of their translation from the original format into Word and PDF. Copies of additional related documents in a case are available upon request. Only opinions designated for publication in the State Bar Court Reporter may be cited or relied on as precedent in State Bar Court proceedings. For further information about a case that is displayed here, please refer to the State Bar Court's online docket, which can be found at: http://apps.statebarcourt.ca.gov/dockets.aspx
DISCLAIMER: Any posted Notice of Disciplinary Charges, Conviction Transmittal or other initiating document, contains only allegations of professional misconduct. The attorney is presumed to be innocent of any misconduct warranting discipline until the charges have been proven.
|Effective Date||Case Number||Description|
|1/30/2017||14-O-2079||MPRE Suspension Order [PDF]|
|12/16/2015||14-O-2079||Order re Costs [PDF]|
|9/7/2008||02-O-10522||Stipulation [PDF] [HTML]|
|Pending||17-O-754||Initiating Document [PDF]|
California Bar Journal Discipline Summaries
Summaries from the California Bar Journal are based on discipline orders but are not the official records. Not all discipline actions have associated CBJ summaries. Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.
November 15, 2015
ELISA ANN CASTRO [#171814], 58, of Riverside, was suspended from the practice of law for 90 days and ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. She was also placed on two years’ probation and faces a two-year suspension if she does not comply with the terms of her disciplinary probation. The order took effect Nov. 15, 2015.
In one matter, Castro did not promptly render an accounting to a client she’d represented in a divorce proceeding. In another matter, she failed to substitute into a client’s matter, inform the client she had not done so, promptly provide an accounting of advanced fees after she was fired or perform any services of value.
In addition, Castro failed to cooperate with a State Bar disciplinary investigation by not responding to letters from a State Bar investigator. In mitigation, 11 people testified as to her good character and she entered into a pretrial stipulation.
She had one prior record of discipline, a 2008 suspension for improperly withdrawing from representation of clients and failing to perform, provide prompt accounting of fees, promptly refund unearned fees or cooperate in the investigation of the matters.
September 7, 2008
ELISA ANN CASTRO [#171814], 51, of Riverside was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on five years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect Sept. 7, 2008.
Castro stipulated to 18 counts of misconduct in 12 consolidated cases. In most, she either abandoned her clients or did not do the required work and she frequently failed to refund unearned fees.
One client hired Castro, after seeing her advertisement, to file a restraining order. The client had already completed the documents and filed them, but wanted Castro to accompany her to court. Although Castro scheduled an appointment with the client and told her to bring $500, she did not show up for the appointment. Castro’s secretary told the client to leave the money and promised that Castro would appear in court two days later for a scheduled hearing.
In fact, she sent another lawyer, who realized the case was more complicated than he thought and received a continuance. Castro then told the client to set up another appointment and to bring more money. Despite six attempts, the client could not schedule an appointment before the hearing and she appeared on her own in court. Her repeated requests for a refund of her fee were not answered.
Another self-represented client hired Castro after the court increased his child support obligation, paying her $2,000 to seek a modification of the order. Castro’s motion for an order to show cause was denied because the court found no change in her client’s circumstances. The client paid another $3,000 for Castro to appeal, but the court sent her a notice of default for failing to file designations with the appeal. It warned the case would be dismissed if the designations were not filed within 15 days.
Castro’s paralegal called the client the day the filing was due, said Castro could not handle the matter and recommended he contact another lawyer. Although the client hired someone else, the appeal was dismissed because the designations were not filed on time.
Another client fired Castro after waiting for a year for her to seek an expungement of his criminal conviction and a default judgment was entered against another when Castro took no action on his divorce for six months. Her paralegal missed two appointments with a client who hired Castro to handle a guardianship, the papers were never filed and no one followed up on the case for almost a year — when the client complained to the State Bar. Castro did not appear at three hearings on a child support matter and the client won a $2,500 award in fee arbitration. Another client won $846 through fee arbitration and yet another won a small claims judgment against Castro. She was sanctioned $780 by another court for not appearing in a divorce case; her client hired a new lawyer.
In total, she stipulated that she failed to perform legal services competently seven times, refund unearned fees seven times, account for client funds twice, cooperate with the bar’s investigation of two matters or take steps to avoid prejudice to her client.
In mitigation, Castro had no prior discipline record and she participates in the Lawyer Assistance Program.