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A Farcical Case of Legal Impersonation

Telephonic appearances by attorneys were originally intended to reduce the stress of already-harried legal practitioners, but one attorney in California took this privilege to a ridiculous extent.

Mr P. Singh, a licensed attorney in California, not only managed to hoodwink the legal community but also made a circus of the profession by enlisting the services of his legal assistant on no less than 8 counts to impersonate him during multiple telephonic appearances before Immigration Judges. Mr. Singh obviously thought he could easily dodge the law since all that would be heard on a telephone would be a voice (and not his face), but the mask (pun intended!) came off soon enough.

One thing’s for sure. Mr. Singh won’t be in a hurry to pick up a phone again for some time. Thanks to his shenanigans with the law and Graham Bell’s device, he was suspended from practice before the Immigration Courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for a period of 16 months, and prohibited from appearing telephonically in the Immigration Courts for 7 long years on the charge of sham legal activities.

By definition, paralegals are just meant to assist lawyers in executing legal tasks, including representation of clients. They aren’t licensed and qualified to practice law. Mr. Singh, in his eagerness to be at several places all at once or else to simply take a lazy shortcut, employed the hapless paralegal to do his bidding.

In the United States, there’s no shortage of legal cases in which paralegals are found passing themselves off as attorneys while making representations in law courts. When legal assistants begin to don the role of attorneys, the idea of fair justice goes out of the window. The Disciplinary Counsel at the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) served Mr. Singh a Notice of Intent to Discipline on January 9, 2014, and the final decision to suspend him was reached on August 13, 2014.

Interestingly, Mr. P. Singh has admitted to those charges.

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