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Steven Robert Liss - #129527

Current Status:  Disbarred

This member is prohibited from practicing law in California by order of the California Supreme Court.

See below for more details.

Profile Information

The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.

Bar Number: 129527    
Address: 7551 La Jolla Blvd #B-4
La Jolla, CA 92037
Phone Number: (858) 270-0200
Fax Number: (858) 270-2000
e-mail: hrieokff@asj.goveqjpayylw@ckqppi.comcpje@lrrsf.netoupqg@iytqfqm.govqwoftfoqy@wpp.govjywnjyaq@ntyd.eduhwyctlryb@days.comeuyn@aley.edulpchk@olpd.comoqbs@qug.govqrbhoeca@wncmnykh.netjclloaljf@fngwiuq.edusrliss@familylawsd.comfbnlk@aua.govlmlj@fcsp.comonlwsqin@jlmgkoq.comlhbukmguj@gdma.edujgci@bacgunej.comhfdug@ridluf.netjhwa@qiilk.edu 
County: San Diego
Undergraduate School: See Registration Card;
District: District 4    
Sections: None Law School: California Western SOL; San Diego CA

Status History

Effective Date Status Change
Present Disbarred
9/24/2010 Disbarred  
3/25/2010 Not Eligible To Practice Law  
9/18/2008 Active  
9/8/2008 Not Eligible To Practice Law  
9/25/2006 Active  
9/18/2006 Not Eligible To Practice Law  
9/15/1987 Admitted to The State Bar of California

Explanation of member status

Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law

Effective DateDescriptionCase NumberResulting Status

Disciplinary and Related Actions

Overview of the attorney discipline system.

9/24/2010 Disbarment 07-O-10750 Disbarred 
9/20/2010 Interim suspension after conviction 09-C-12049 Not Eligible To Practice Law 
3/25/2010 Ordered inactive 07-O-10750 Not Eligible To Practice Law 
9/16/2007 Discipline, probation; no actual susp. 05-O-03676  
5/27/2004 Public reproval with/duties 03-O-00010  

Administrative Actions

9/1/2010 Suspended, failed to pay Bar membr. fees Not Eligible To Practice Law 
9/8/2008 Ordered Inactive/Fee Arb/B&P 6203 08-AE-12722 Not Eligible To Practice Law 
9/18/2006 Suspended, failed to pay Bar membr. fees Not Eligible To Practice Law 


Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.

Explanation of common actions

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/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
9/24/2010 07-O-10750 Decision [PDF] [WORD]
9/24/2010 07-O-10750 Order [PDF]
9/18/2008 08-AE-12722 Order [PDF] [WORD]
9/8/2008 08-AE-12722 Decision [PDF] [WORD]
9/16/2007 05-O-03676 Modification Order [PDF]
9/16/2007 05-O-03676 Stipulation [PDF]
5/27/2004 02-O-12289 Stipulation [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.

September 24, 2010

STEVEN ROBERT LISS [#129527], 55, of La Jolla was disbarred Sept. 24, 2010, and was ordered to make restitution and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court.

The State Bar Court found that Liss committed 13 acts of misconduct involving five clients that included unconscionable bills, the unauthorized practice of the law, illegal fees, failure to return unearned fees, failing to put client funds into a client trust account, and moral turpitude. He also did not comply with probation conditions attached to a previous discipline.

While suspended for about a week for not paying his bar dues, Liss agreed to represent a woman in a matter related to her divorce. The client signed a fee agreement and paid Liss $6,000 – a $5,000 fee and the remainder for costs. The client later became concerned when it appeared Liss was doing little or no work for her and she was unable to reach him. When his paralegal called her to say he was taking over the case, she fired Liss and demanded that he account for her fees and refund any unearned portion.

They apparently later reconciled and Liss continued to represent the client. However, she was in a financial predicament, rejected Liss’s suggested solutions and hired a new lawyer. She also complained to the bar.

Liss did not refund any part of the $6,000 and instead billed the client for an additional $3,578.75 nearly a year later.

The bar court found that Liss committed acts of moral turpitude by misrepresenting his practice status to the client, charged her an illegal fee, failed to respond to client inquiries, deposit client funds in a trust account or account for client funds.

In a second matter, Liss represented a client in a family law matter; she paid a $10,000 advanced fee and $2,500 in costs. Liss did not deposit any of the money into his client trust account. About two weeks later she fired him, although he substituted back in due to a conflict the new lawyer had. When the client sought a fee refund, Liss agreed to refund the $12,500 in four monthly installments of $3,125. When the second payment was due, Liss sent two checks for $1,000, one written against a closed account that Liss said he wrote by accident. The client was charged a service fee for a bounced check.

He paid a total of $7,250 and 18 months after being terminated, Liss billed the client for another $4,640.

The court found he failed to refund unearned fees, deposit client funds in a trust account, account for client funds, and he charged an unconscionable fee.

Two months after being hired in another family law matter, Liss was terminated but did not promptly return his client’s documents. When she received a file, it was incomplete. In another divorce matter, he did not deposit client funds in trust. Liss also violated probation conditions attached to a 2007 suspension.

Liss has a record of three prior disciplines and although he cooperated with the bar’s investigation and presented character evidence, Judge Donald F. Miles recommended his disbarment. “At the end of the trial,” Miles wrote, Liss “continued to assert that he had done nothing wrong. Worse, his demonstrated willingness to mislead the State Bar, to obstruct the disciplinary process, to disregard the orders of both this and the Supreme Court, and to lie under oath to this court to avoid responsibility for his misconduct, makes clear that the three prior orders of discipline have not served any significant rehabilitative function.”

September 16, 2007

STEVEN R. LISS [#129527], 52, of La Jolla was suspended for one year, stayed, and was placed on two years of probation. The order took effect Sept. 16, 2007.

Liss stipulated that he failed to communicate significant developments to his clients, a couple who were exploring the possibility of adopting a baby. They paid Liss a $450 consulting fee.

A few days later, Liss asked them to execute an employment agreement and send $17,500 in advanced fees, plus $1,000 for costs. However, he made no distinction between anticipated costs to be incurred and the flat fee in lieu of costs that Liss asserted in the agreement.

The clients paid Liss $19,000 in two installments. He agreed to locate a birth mother, match the clients with a child and take the necessary actions to adopt a child. He did not adequately explain that the time estimate of four to six months was conditioned on his expectations of the client or adequately explain what those expectations were. The clients eventually became disappointed with what they perceived as a lack of diligence by Liss and eventually fired him and sought a refund of $18,500.

Liss refused because of a purported “non-refundable” clause in the fee agreement. He offered to refund $200 and to continue to represent the couple. They took the matter to a fee arbitrator, who ruled in their favor. Liss complied with the arbitration award.

Liss was reproved twice in 2004 for failure to perform legal services competently, promptly refund unearned fees or comply with a court order.

In mitigation, he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.


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