Attorney Licensee Profile
Milton Kerlan Jr #39719
This licensee is prohibited from practicing law in California by order of the California Supreme Court.
License Status: Disbarred
Address: 1550 W Ashlan Ave Apt 138, Fresno, CA 93705
County: Fresno County
Phone Number: Not Available
Fax Number: Not Available
Law School: USC Law School; Los Angeles CA
State Bar Court Cases
The listing below is partial, as the State Bar Court is transitioning to online dockets. Please refer to the License Status, Disciplinary and Administrative History section above for a record of discipline cases. Case dockets and documents may be available using the State Bar Court Search for a Case feature.
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 licensee discipline records are available upon request.
July 8, 1998
MILTON KERLAN JR. [#39719], 57, of Santa Monica was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation with conditions including restitution, and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. The order took effect July 8, 1998.Kerlan stipulated to misconduct in eight consolidated matters: five counts of gross negligence in the operation of his law office, and three counts of failing to cooperate with a bar investigation.Kerlan was, in fact, the victim of a fraudulent law practice scheme created by three friends who appropriated his name.A criminal defense attorney who practiced out of his home, Kerlan accepted an offer to use a friend's office for occasional meetings with clients. The friend also offered to provide secretarial services, when needed, without charge.As a result, the friend gained access to Kerlan's stationary, business cards, retainer agreements and other crucial information about the law practice.He and the other two friends then set up three separate law practices under Kerlan's name. They accepted clients, opened client trust accounts, settled cases and misappropriated client funds, all without Kerlan's knowledge.At the same time, they referred some low-level criminal cases to Kerlan, who continued his practice of interviewing clients in jail or in the interview rooms at the courthouse. He rarely visited his friend's office, where an illegal law practice flourished.Eventually, a criminal investigation was launched and all three men were convicted of insurance fraud.Kerlan was never prosecuted because law enforcement officers concluded he was unaware of his friends' illegal activities. His signature had been forged on documents setting up bank accounts and on other papers. His secretary told the authorities she was instructed by the non-lawyers to maintain separate files which were not to be shown to Kerlan. She became suspicious and notified the authorities when she realized clients were not receiving their funds.Kerlan stipulated to gross negligence in the operation of his law office in relation to four clients who believed they had hired him to represent them. In addition, he was contacted by bar investigators three times, but ignored the inquiries because he did not recognize the clients' names, thought the bar had contacted the wrong attorney and that the mistake would be corrected without his response.Had he responded, his friends' illegal conduct could have been stopped earlier.In mitigation, Kerlan has no record of discipline since his 1967 admission to the bar. He fully cooperated with law enforcement and provided information that led to the conviction of the three friends. He also had agreed to make restitution to one client, reimbursed the Client Security Fund for a claim it paid to another client, and paid a default judgment obtained by the doctor of a third client. Each of these clients was a victim of the friends' criminal activities.
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. On May 31, 2019, the State Bar Court launched online case dockets. If a case was open or filed on or after Feb 7, 2019, documents are being added online as events occur, and can be accessed with the new Search for a Case feature. Older case records are available on request.
NOTE: Only Published Opinions 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 (Search for a Case).
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California Lawyers Association (CLA) is an independent organization and is not part of The State Bar of California.