Saturday, October 06, 2007
This article in today's San Antonio Express-News reads like a telenovela. Here are some excerpts, but you really need to read the whole article:
... Owner of a law firm that regularly refers high-dollar cases to the city's most powerful litigators, Celis developed a reputation as a generous player, handing out fat checks to Democratic candidates, hosting fundraisers and serving on the board of Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi.I expect there'll be a few more developments on this story. Did any of the law firms that took referrals from CGT know that Celis was not licensed to practice law? Did any of them share fees with him?
..."Mauricio Celis with the law firm of CGT Law Group International does not have a law license in the state of Texas nor does he have a license to practice law anywhere in the world," announced Henry in the paid TV spot.
... In Texas, the unauthorized practice of law is a felony. It is also illegal for lawyers to share fees with non-lawyers or for non-lawyers to own an interest in a law firm, with certain narrow exceptions.
And according to the State Bar, Celis is not licensed to practice law in Texas.
Still, newspaper articles and even Texas Monthly have regularly identified him as a lawyer.
... Other Corpus Christi firms are believed to have taken lucrative referrals from CGT. But with Celis now under attack, not all of them wanted to confirm it.
... Mikal Watts, an even bigger fish in the local legal pond, acknowledged the relationship, but downplayed it.
"It's not a major part of my business. There may have been one or two cases in the past few years," he said.
A frequent commenter on this blog, Jaime Kenedeno, seemed to know about the relationship between Watts and Celis over a year ago. See his comment on " Sitting Judge - No Class" - January 6, 2006.
- At 11:35 AM, DAC said...
problem is, I don't think the same rules apply in Mexico regarding a law office and a license, so these case runners set up "firms" in Mexico to funnel the cases (usually involving death cases of Mexican Nationals living in the US at the time of death) It is a major operation and not specifically illegal, thought the larger firms tend to use "buffers" - remembert the godfather - yea buffas...lots o buffas
- At 12:47 AM, The Advocate said...
This is old news. It is common knowledge Maurico Celis has never held a JD or State BAR License.
Why did Vance move to California?
When we revealed this information, nobody gave a damn.
TJ Henry, his actions speak for themselves.
Mauricio possesses a clientèle niche and is the manager of CGT Group. As far as referrals, it would be imprudent to turn down clients because a non attorney acting as an agent is the "referrer".
If I bring a high dollar case to any attorney,I expect to be compensated accordingly. We dont call it a referral fee as I am not referring the case. I bet Les Cassidy, TJ Henry, Abel Cavada and every other attorney rewards people who bring them money making cases. That is the real world people. The laws were made to allow attorneys to retain an inside track and charge the high rates. If the BAR had it their way, there would be no internet access to the written law. It is called a housekeeping issue.
Henry is mad because he did not get the referral. He didnt get the big case.
- At 1:07 AM, The Advocate said...
The real question here is, who has Mauricio Celis represented in a courtroom?
Which courtroom and who was the Judge?
Now, there is something new to write about.
You know at one time, mainstream CC did not know Mikal's mother was the Judge but think WATT it would sound like to make the announcement today? This little ruse about Mauricio not being licensed is stale at best and way late. The bearer of this news is either very uninformed or has acquiesced and now finds it personally advantageous to bring it up now. But go for it guys, y'all got yourselves a humdinger of a scoop. Blast away, after all; as far as credibility, you guys dont got anything to lose.