Bruce Howard Sobel - #182547
The following information is from the official records of The State Bar of California.
110 W C St Ste 1709
San Diego, CA 92101-3909
|Phone Number:||(619) 235-9200|
|Fax Number:||(619) 231-2890|
||Undergraduate School:||Arizona St Univ; Tempe AZ|
|Sections:||None||Law School:||California Western SOL; San Diego CA|
Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law in California
Disciplinary and Related Actions
|Effective Date||Description||Case Number||Resulting Status|
|10/4/2014||Discipline w/actual suspension||12-O-16751||Not Eligible To Practice Law in CA|
|Effective Date||Description||Case Number||Resulting Status|
|7/1/2014||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|
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.
March 19, 2016
BRUCE HOWARD SOBEL [#182547], 59, of San Diego, was suspended from the practice of law for three years and 90 days. The order took effect March 19, 2016.Sobel was suspended as the result of his late compliance with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court as required by an earlier disciplinary order.He was previously suspended in October 2014 for misconduct in nine matters including: forming a partnership with a non-lawyer, aiding in the unauthorized practice of law, lending his name to be used by a non-attorney, sharing fees with a non-lawyer, knowingly or grossly making false statements in response to a State Bar investigation, collecting advanced fees for loan modification services, not notifying clients that they did not need to seek the help of a third-party to negotiate a loan modification, seeking to convince a client to withdraw a State Bar complaint, misappropriating client funds and seeking to mislead a judge or judicial officer. He also failed to perform legal services with competence, deposit advanced fees and costs into his client trust account, refund unearned fees, promptly pay client funds, render appropriate accountings to clients, respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries or keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments in a matter.
October 4, 2014
BRUCE HOWARD SOBEL [#182547], 57, of San Diego, was suspended from the practice of law for three years and ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. He was also placed on three years’ probation and faces a three-year suspension if he does not comply with the rules of his disciplinary probation. The order took effect Oct. 4, 2014. Sobel stipulated to misconduct in nine client matters. In six of the cases he formed a partnership with a non-lawyer, shared fees with a non-lawyer, aided in the unauthorized practice of law, lent his name to be used by a non-attorney and knowingly or grossly made false statements in a response to a State Bar investigation. He also collected advanced fees for loan modification services, did not provide clients with notice that they did not need to seek the help of a third-party to negotiate a loan modification and sought to convince a client to withdraw a State Bar complaint. In addition, he misappropriated client funds, sought to mislead a judge or judicial officer and failed to perform legal services with competence, deposit advanced fees and costs into his client trust account, refund unearned fees, promptly pay client funds, render appropriate accountings to clients, respond to a client’s reasonable status inquiries or keep a client reasonably informed of significant developments in a matter. In April 2010, Sobel began working for Asset Law Center (ALC), a California business owned by non-lawyer Victoria Herrera, which offered home mortgage loan modification assistance and other legal services to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. He later formed a partnership with Herrera to operate ALC. Sobel shared legal fees with ALC’s owner and ALC and received $500 for each case he worked on. In May 2011, he formed a second partnership with Herrera called the Asset Bankruptcy Center (ABC). Similar to the ALC arrangement, Sobel was to provide legal services while Herrera signed up clients, collected legal fees from clients, processed fee agreements and handled day-to-day interactions with clients. They also agreed to divide legal fees. In the course of running the offices, Sobel allowed Herrera and other non-attorneys to sign up new clients, receive fees and give clients legal advice about their chances of getting a home loan modification with no input from him. He also allowed non-attorneys to use his letterhead for retainer agreements. During a State Bar investigation, he submitted statements to the State Bar in the form of written responses. He also testified at a deposition and answered questions under penalty of perjury. A number of Sobel’s statements to the State Bar were false, including that he did not own or manage ALC and that his sole role was as a contract attorney hired by Herrera. He also claimed he did not receive more than $1,500 total in payments from ALC. Sobel was ordered to pay $17,211 plus interest in restitution. In mitigation, Sobel had no prior discipline since being admitted to the practice of law in 1996, entered into a pretrial stipulation with the State Bar and presented evidence demonstrating his good character.