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Scott Brown challenges Elizabeth Warren on lack of Massachusetts law license

Scott Brown challenges Elizabeth Warren on lack of Massachusetts law license

The Brown campaign has been silent on the issue of Elizabeth Warren’s broad and longstanding practice of law from her Cambridge office without being licensed in Massachusetts.

I assume that the Brown campaign wanted to have all their legal ducks in a row before they jumped on the issue.  As numerous commenters pointed out on the debate post, Brown needed to raise it at the right time and in the right manner.

Apparently that time has arrived, as reported by NPR station WBUR:

Brown Claims Warren Is Practicing Without Law License

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown is claiming his Democratic rival, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, is practicing law without a license.

Brown is also criticizing Warren’s representation of another corporate client. This time, it’s Dow Chemical.

“So once again, we find out that she’s been working not for the little guy, not for the victims, as she said, in the middle class, but for the large corporation as a hired gun, and doing that, quite frankly, without a law license, something that I know is something that should be looked into,” Brown told reporters in Winchester Wednesday.

“I know I have to be admitted to the bar,” he added. “I took the test, passed the test, and any time you are giving out information, you need to have a license.”

The WBUR article then goes on to make the same legal mistake many make, assuming that because Warren could appear in federal courts she has no problem.  As explained here many times, that is a strawman argument.  To practice law from her Cambridge office, Warren needed to be licensed in Massachusetts.

I expect the Boston Globe to cover for Warren, as one of its senior writers already has announced that the lack of a license is a non-issue.  As have some other Warren defenders, the Globe writer cited Michael Fredrickson, the General Counsel of the Board of Bar Overseers, who volunteered a highly unusual “personal” opinion, only later to admit he didn’t even know enough about Warren’s law practice to reach a conclusion.

This is about to get hot.


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Here’s another angle. Usually businesses like law offices pay property taxes. When non-profits like Harvard engage in taxable activity, they usually pay property taxes on just that part. Given that Ms. Warren is hauling in so much money, shouldn’t Harvard be paying property taxes on this activity that’s normally considered “for profit”? While I have no problem with professors doing a small project on the side, it sure looks like she was bringing in more than most small businesses that pay hefty taxes.

    David Yotham in reply to eajpxwpl. | October 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Oops…. Since Harvard is such a liberal school, I’m sure they have no problem having Ms. Warren associated with them. Ms. Warren should be able to find employment at the local Dunkin’ Donuts during the Holiday Season. Hopefully the Obama Administration should be kaput about this time also, making it possible for her find a job equal to her skill set.

      turfmann in reply to David Yotham. | October 4, 2012 at 3:37 am

      Careful about the Harvard bashing:

      1) Mr. Romney is a graduate of both the Law School and the Business School (simultaneously, for crying out loud – I couldn’t find both campuses without a map never mind graduate from them).

      2) It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a president that was not a graduate from either Harvard or Yale. (Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan… Reagan graduated from Eureka College, so its been almost an entire generation)

      3) Our host here is a graduate of the Law School.

      It’s true that we have been shived by more than one Ivy Leaguer in the past few years, but I think it important to ascribe those actions more to the individual than to their alma matter.

    Wally Kalbacken in reply to eajpxwpl. | October 4, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Another thought is that she needs, no doubt, a business license for Cambridge, to conduct business from a given location in that city or town. I wonder if anyone has checked to see if she had a business license located at her Harvard Law School address.

casualobserver | October 3, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Please, please keep up the pressure. Whether or not people believe any one of her hypocritical statements or positions, in total it will make it difficult for all but the most committed ideologue to want to support her. Perhaps turn out will be low, but even that works in Brown’s favor. Just today I had a conversation with a small business owner who has typically voted Democrat (unenrolled or ‘independent’ registration in MA). But he admitted it is getting difficult to see her as anything but a lightweight who talks about of both sides of her mouth.

Maybe Brown was shrewd enough to wait until a month before the election to assert this.

I thought no one in the GOP could be as stupid as the person(s) accepting the corrupt debate moderators that they did. Until I read this:

October 3, 2012
White House marriage ties to presidential debate commission continue with Valerie Jarrett:

So, did you ever get a reply from New Jersey re: your written request for more information about her inactive status there?

TrooperJohnSmith | October 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm

In Warren’s muddled brain cavity, the following tape is playing: “Indian no need-um law license. Me practice-um natural law. Me woman of color from land of many squaws what have-um law degree. Scott Brown is pale-face that speak with many tongues. Me work-um with Great White Half-White Father in big DC tee-pee, where me make-um big law medicine. Me no need-um stinking license!”

On the road to Batshit Crazyville, Lizzy Warren just hit the outskirts doing 95!

    byondpolitics in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | October 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    This is unnecessarily and outrageously offensive.

      truth often is.

      David Yotham in reply to byondpolitics. | October 3, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      You are right, absolutely hilarious!

      TrooperJohnSmith in reply to byondpolitics. | October 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      I say this as a totally outraged and offended person who is somewhere just a bit less than HALF American Indian: Cherokee, Choctaw, Kiowa and Sac and Fox. I’m from the same sort of white-trash lineage as Ms. Warren, and I damn sure never traded in my “native heritage,” because like most other people in the great state of Oklahoma, being part Indian in neither remarkable nor something that one uses to advantage.

      So, I me want-um write like Injun, me write-em like Injun. If you offended, you can piss-em up pony rope. With that, me take-um whiskey and go to tee-pee and snuggle-um with squaw. 😆

        I’m another Oklahoman who’s partly of Native American descent. I never dreamed of pretending to *be* Native American or trying to gain some advantage that way.

      Milhouse in reply to byondpolitics. | October 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Correction: It would be outrageously offensive if she were actually Indian. Since she isn’t, to whom is it offensive? Other fake Indians?!

“I took the test, passed the test, and any time you are giving out information, you need to have a license.”

Boom, why on earth would any sane person – teaching at HARVARD of all places – decide to just take a pass on the whole law license thing? I am sure there are exceptions where she shouldn’t need it but why not just have it to be sure? NOne of this passes the smell test.

byondpolitics | October 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm said “This is unnecessarily and outrageously offensive.”
That could be said of the entire fraudulent campaign of that lying liar who lies incessantly, Princess Forked Tongue of the Harvard tribe. What a sad excuse of a dhimmicrapper even in Massachusetts.

She needs to do some time on the inside of a slammer. Can’t take her law license…..ha ha ha

If Warren grew up thinking she is Native American a licensed lawyer, who are we to say she is not?

I think if Brown harps on this enough the MA Bar will be forced to render a judgement, and I don’t think they will want to risk setting a precedent that serves to break down their ability to regulate the profession in their own state.

[…] Good. And if we didn’t have a hack like Coakley as AG, Warren would be facing criminal charges, as well. Share this:StumbleUponDiggRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Tags: Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts, Scott Brown Comments RSS feed […]

I wondered why he didn’t bring it up at the debate. That said, I couldn’t find Scott Brown by searching through the BBO’s attorney finder.

“This is about to get hot.”

Could someone turn down the heat. I think it’s already gone nuclear. The only thing missing is the detonation device of someone pressing charges on the matter.

On another point. I found this strange little blurb on the site:

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court enacted a rule requiring the payment and registration of a fee before petitions for admission pro hac vice are moved. Click here for FAQ; Click here for rule . Click here for the required form to accompany your pro-hac fee. ”

Is this fallout from the discussions here?

    Wally Kalbacken in reply to Paul. | October 4, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Probably not. Most rule revisions are hashed out, noticed for comment and then go into effect after a considerable period of time (say 4-6 months). So this issue (Warren) was not on the radar when this rule revision was being initiated.

Meh, probably not. Just a very strange coincidence, I’m sure.

Unclear if the public understands or will understand the legal piece. The practice of law is a state issue govern by the relevent jurisdiction. How would anystate, other then Massachusetts be relevant. Right? There is the model code of ethics from the ABA, but each state has their own codified rules for lawyers with the governmental agenecy the oversees lawyers.

Before a lawyer even makes an appearance in federal court, he or she first has to retain clients,have an agreement of legal representation, give advice, draft and sign documents, get paid, that’s being a lawyer even if the case never makes it to a court. The court appearance is really the end result of the legal work, not the first.

I had a post in an earlier thread, informing Harvard Law students about the practice of law. The post had a link of a bankcruptcy lawyer in federal court, who made a bad mistake and that issue was handled in state court.

How many lawyers, even if they are Warren supporters, are quietly frustrated with the misrepresentations by the media.

Scott Brown was in the MassBBO database. It does state he is ‘inactive’. I’m assuming he took this status when he stopped practing law, when he was elected to the Senate.

Inactive means, you can’t give out legal advice or present yourself to clients or others as ‘a lawyer’, even if never step foot in a court house. One might say, I use to practice law, but I’m inactive. Currently, I’m not lawyer.

Inactive status is important, for those who move away and take active status in another jurisdiction or individuals take a change in career path and step away from the profession without any wrong doing.

I love this. Great f’in work bringing this to the nation’s attention. Could you help me out though? I’m not an attorney and my liberal lawyer liar friends keep telling me this issue is irrelevant. How do I respond to them and put them to bed? I looked at your strawman link, but I dont understand why that makes it a strawman? I’ve been getting in these arguments on a nightly basis at dinner for the past month, but now that Romney delivered when needed in the debate, I feel like I can actually go on the offensive. Any help is appreciated!

If Warren doesn’t need a law license to practice law in MA, then I am going to start practicing there without a license…

Wait for it — Melissa Harris-Perry to defend Warren on same basis as her alleged native American heritage. I can hear it now:

“If candidate Warren grew up thinking she is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, who are we to say she is not? And who are we to define based on narrow constructs of law?”

DINORightMarie | October 4, 2012 at 11:17 am

The WBUR article then goes on to make the same legal mistake many make, assuming that because Warren could appear in federal courts she has no problem. As explained here many times, that is a strawman argument. To practice law from her Cambridge office, Warren needed to be licensed in Massachusetts.

(emphasis mine)

As I recall, Jim Geraghty of NRO was one of those initial skeptics. (Please correct me if I’m wrong – it was a comment form the original Lizzie Warren license post I read; if I can find it, I will link to it.)

If he was, then – has he apologized yet? I sure hope so….. 😉

[…] all, and do not practice law at all in Massachusetts state court.) Warren’s defenders wrongly argue that if she just practices in federal court, the state bar has no power or jurisdiction over her, […]