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22.11.12 0351
The 7 - Pro Wrestling - David Otunga, A Real Legal Eagle
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John Orquiola
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#1 Posted on 27.1.12 1941.02
Reposted on: 27.1.19 1941.09
WWE.com has a story about David Otunga winning a pro bono case on Thursday in New York. (wwe.com) Otunga is an actual trial lawyer and has an unblemished record of 20 wins in trial cases. That's pretty awesome.

I also like how Otunga stayed in character for the article melding his real life accompishments with being Official Legal Counsel to Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim Raw General Manager, Mr. John Laurinaitis.
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StaggerLee
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#2 Posted on 27.1.12 2049.59
Reposted on: 27.1.19 2053.29
"Otunga says he takes the pro bono cases simply to keep his skills up, and not necessarily because he needs the payday."


Good lord, is everybody at WWE so stupid that they don't know what Pro Bono means?
sweetroll
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#3 Posted on 27.1.12 2104.55
Reposted on: 27.1.19 2105.48
Pure work. Otunga is not licensed as a lawyer: https://www.iardc.org/ldetail.asp?id=259605952
StingArmy
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#4 Posted on 28.1.12 0014.59
Reposted on: 28.1.19 0015.15

Seems kinda random they'd do this, but yeah, this can't possibly be legit:

    "I actually worked as a full time trial lawyer in Boston while in my third year at Harvard Law School," Otunga told WWE.com. "Most people couldn’t have handled trying to graduate from the most prestigious law school in the world while trying cases full time, but I’m obviously not most people."

Seeing as how it's against the rules of every bar association in every state in the country to try cases while still in law school, I would say this probably didn't happen.

Sad, too. I was ready to make a quip about him being Bill Goldberg, Esq.

- StingArmy
Tenken347
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#5 Posted on 28.1.12 0833.41
Reposted on: 28.1.19 0833.41


That link you posted goes to a site for the State Supreme Court of Illinois. The WWE.com story is about a trial in New York. I'm not saying that this isn't a work, because obviously the stuff about him practicing full-time while in law school is bullshit, and I can't find anything about him being registered in New York, either. But I'm not sure that the fact that he's not licensed in Illinois necessarily means anything.
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#6 Posted on 28.1.12 0850.18
Reposted on: 28.1.19 0854.53
A search in NY State Bar association site does not list a attorney with the name Otunga

He's also not listed with LLRX.org

Like most states, a person does not have to be a practicing attorney to actually act as a lawyer.That is, he could have advised in a case, even sat at the bench, possibly even posed questions to a witness (although it is unlikely) without actually passing the bar in NY State. That does mean a licensed attorney (that is someone who has passed the bar and is licensed in the court in which the case is being tried) would also have to have been present.




(edited by AWArulz on 28.1.12 0955)
sweetroll
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#7 Posted on 28.1.12 1056.24
Reposted on: 28.1.19 1056.32
    Originally posted by AWArulz
    Like most states, a person does not have to be a practicing attorney to actually act as a lawyer.That is, he could have advised in a case, even sat at the bench, possibly even posed questions to a witness (although it is unlikely) without actually passing the bar in NY State. That does mean a licensed attorney (that is someone who has passed the bar and is licensed in the court in which the case is being tried) would also have to have been present.


I am licensed in several states. The above is nowhere near correct. In most states, unlicensed practice of law is a felony. Even if you graduated first in your class at Harvard Law, and you're trying a case with Alan Dershowitz, if you don't have a bar card from a state or DC, you're not speaking on the record in any court in this country. The only exception is if a state supreme court grants you an intern certification after your second year of law school; but only if you're representing a governmental agency like a prosecutor's office, public defender, etc.

If his Illinois license expired, he's not practicing in ANY court in this country. Period.

The tale of trying cases while in law school is possible, however. The aforementioned certified intern program allowed me to try cases for my local prosecutor's office while in law school. Full-time, though? Not likely.

The fact the story mentions Otunga getting paid for pro bono cases (pro bono=free) should also be a huge red flag.

(edited by sweetroll on 31.1.12 2026)
shawnpatrick
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#8 Posted on 28.1.12 1113.54
Reposted on: 28.1.19 1114.05
Thanks sweetroll for the answer. But my question is, since this was an unemployment hearing, can a non-lawyer represent someone under those circumstances? The reason I ask is was looking at this website and it mentions lawyer or representative and they claim not to be a law firm.

http://www.cmhservicesny.com/Unemployment-Appeals.php

I noticed TMZ picked up the story.
sweetroll
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#9 Posted on 28.1.12 1411.29
Reposted on: 28.1.19 1411.46
If it were really an unemployment action, it would be an administrative hearing before the unemployment appeal board, not an action against the Dept. of Labor, as the article claims.

An administrative hearing isn't a court proceeding, so anybody could appear on your behalf and question witnesses, etc. (the most common admin hearing is a driver's license suspension hearing).  That's what "CMH Services" performs.

At the end of the day, either A) the article is complete bullshit, (which I believe) or B) he helped someone out at an admin hearing, which is not the practice of law.
cmhservices
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#10 Posted on 29.1.12 2103.57
Reposted on: 29.1.19 2104.23
Hi Guys,

Thank you for checking out our website. No we are not attorneys. Yes David Otunga is.

https://www.iardc.org/​​​ldetail.asp?​​​id=259605952

The link above to the IL bar states that he is not currently in good standing, apparently because he does not have malpractice insurance or hasn't done his continuing legal education requirements.

It lists his date of admission to the IL bar as May 10, 2007. So if he goes and buys insurance or takes a few classes he will be returned to full status. Also, he may be cross-registered to more than one bar (there are at least 51 DC + 50 states + territories).

But the most telling part of the registration is that this bad boy used to work for Sidley & Austin- one of the largest and most prestigious law firms in the the world and that would make him one of the most elite cadre of attorneys with an elite education.

Moral of the story- read the attorney registration closer. LOL.

PS. In New York you do not have to be an attorney (or registered rep) to represent a claimant in an unemployment hearing unless you want to charge. And in New York attorneys and registered reps (like us) can only charge a fee after a win and only after the Board sets the fee. To appear pro bono anyone- your union rep, your high school buddy, or your paralegal cousin can represent you (but that is not a wise decision given you have appx $40K at stake).

PSS. Don't sneer at his victory. In NYS the ALJ's are notoriously hostile to claimants and are chummy with the employer attorneys and representatives. Winning on your first try is an accomplishment.

PSSS. We are undefeated as well (on all final cases and appeals).



(edited by cmhservices on 29.1.12 2106)

(edited by cmhservices on 29.1.12 2111)
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#11 Posted on 29.1.12 2218.00
Reposted on: 29.1.19 2218.13
    Originally posted by cmhservices
    Moral of the story- read the attorney registration closer. LOL.
I believe our resident attorney has *already* closely read the registration and, having admitted that you are NOT attorneys, I tend to take his word over yours in an "attorney" matter.

(Maybe it was you not knowing how to correctly abbreviate "post-post-post-script" that clinched it for me....although you did abbreviate "LOL" correctly.)
Big Bad
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#12 Posted on 30.1.12 0214.48
Reposted on: 30.1.19 0215.57
Streak vs. Streak at Wrestlemania.....Undertaker vs. David Otunga in a Civil Litigation On A Pole match
cmhservices
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#13 Posted on 30.1.12 1538.56
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1545.37
Well. That's fine and dandy, but if he wasn't an attorney how could he be listed as one on the IL website- whether in good standing or not.

The site goes out of its way to clarify that he has no disciplinary problems. So if he signs a check or two he is back in action.

Whether your resident lawyer knows it or not the state of IL gets to set who is licensed in their state. Just because the license is suspended temporarily doesn't make him not an attorney. And any attorney who says otherwise is an idiot and could probably be disbarred for being so ill-informed. And then there is the Sidley & Austin thing- if your attorney doesn't know about major national law firms like Sidley, White & Case, Skadden, and others he should go bury his head in the sand and voluntarily hand in his law license. IL verifies Otunga was an attorney at one of the top law firms in the world. 90% of the law school grads each year would kill for such a post (appx $265K starting salary).

It is not uncommon for attorneys not currently practicing to let their registrations lapse because the fees (here in NY) are astronomical as are the CLE fees. And in NY the insurance is sky high so most attorneys don't carry it (but aren't forced to either).

We have never lost a UI case where the other side was represented by an attorney. However, if there were more practicing before my agency with Otunga's training it might be more sporting.

Just because some knuckle dragger paid his way into a fourth tier law school and drooled his way through a pass/ fail bar exam is no reason for me to be impressed. Otunga's elite training and resume experience- that I find impressive!

PS The rebuttal above was to the CRZ post. In all fairness to the attorney mentioned, it was not him who persisted in failing to acknowledge Otunga's status as an attorney (and in fact, an elite attorney).

(edited by cmhservices on 30.1.12 1539)

(edited by cmhservices on 30.1.12 1548)
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#14 Posted on 30.1.12 1602.59
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1604.04
I don't think anybody's disputing that Otunga was an attorney. There is an argument that can be made that the statement that he is an attorney isn't entirely accurate. What I mean by that is he can't legally practice law - a fact which it appears you have conceded, and a fact which WWE has obscured in their original story. (I would say WWE didn't LIE outright - they don't come out and say "he's a lawyer" anywhere in the story - but they skirt around it enough to probably leave that impression on the typical member of The WWE Universe.)

Precision of language is one of those concepts that comes up sometimes - for instance, during trials! As evidenced by your previous posts, it's a nuance of which you don't particularly seem to have full grasp.

So, help us out here. Are you just hopping around on the Internet, from message board to message board, looking for people to insult? I have to say the impression you are making on me as a representative of YOUR company is...well, let me say I'm not finding it impressive.
cmhservices
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#15 Posted on 30.1.12 1603.08
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1604.25
    Originally posted by sweetroll
    An administrative hearing isn't a court proceeding, so anybody could appear on your behalf and question witnesses, etc. (the most common admin hearing is a driver's license suspension hearing).  That's what "CMH Services" performs.



Ironically, in NY you have to be a licensed attorney to charge for a DMV hearing or court hearing regarding traffic violations and license suspensions (and depending on the judge you may be barred even if appearing pro bono). Strangely enough, you do not have to be an attorney to represent taxi drivers in their license suspension hearings. You don't have to be an attorney to do an uncontested divorce in NY, but you must if it is contested (and for good reason). Put simply, its complicated and the rules vary greatly.

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#16 Posted on 30.1.12 1604.39
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1604.58
Regardless of how this turns out, I've found this thread to be very educational!
cmhservices
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#17 Posted on 30.1.12 1628.18
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1629.02
    Originally posted by CRZ
    I don't think anybody's disputing that Otunga was an attorney. There is an argument that can be made that the statement that he is an attorney isn't entirely accurate.

    Are you just hopping around on the Internet, from message board to message board, looking for people to insult?


1. He is a lawyer by definition or he would have no registration listed at the IL bar... He may be unable to practice in IL until he pays the fees, etc. but he's definitely an attorney and will remain so until stricken from the bar roll:
"Individual Attorney Record of Public Registration and Public Disciplinary and Disability Information"

It says it right at the top. All it takes is the effort to read the document.

2. I did not hop from message board to message board. Your readers drew my attention to this message. And as NY UI hearings (and who can represent whom within them) are something I can discuss intelligently I attempted to share some information. Quite frankly I was quite impressed to see a wrestler with a top-notch legal education and resume. I get the impression that he wouldn't cower from a barking judge.

But look, this is your forum. If you want to wallow in the bliss of ignorance who am I to stop you. Just be aware that you may be embarrassed by your ill-informed posts later on.

So submit your next ad hominem response and carry on until that day comes.
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#18 Posted on 30.1.12 1641.33
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1642.47
    Originally posted by El Nastio
    Regardless of how this turns out, I've found this thread to be very educational!


And entertaining! It is "edutaining".
El Nastio
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#19 Posted on 30.1.12 1647.14
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1648.13
    Originally posted by JayJayDean
      Originally posted by El Nastio
      Regardless of how this turns out, I've found this thread to be very educational!


    And entertaining! It is "edutaining".


Yes! That's it.

Seven years from now, we will look upon this thread and smile.
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#20 Posted on 30.1.12 1656.11
Reposted on: 30.1.19 1656.29
Perhaps I have been imprecise. I'll try one more time.

Going back through this thread, I have been using "David Otunga is a lawyer" and "David Otunga is currently allowed to practice law" as interchangable statements - but obviously, they don't mean the same thing. An unlicensed attorney is still an attorney. Even an ELITE! unlicensed attorney.

The WWE.com article is obviously written to give the misleading impression that David Otunga can currently practice law, using the (and I hope I am using the current term, but if I'm not, please don't try to negate my entire argument because I am using the wrong term) unemployment action as proof. Nowhere does it actually SAY that, but they don't exactly go out of their way to give you the fact that he cannot.

I could give two whits about how many cheques he needs to cut to get that remedied because that is some nebulous future irrelevant to the WWE.com story. The misleading, false impression of the WWE.com story is that Otunga can practice law. He cannot. (I'm pretty sure you haven't disputed this, but please, speak up if I'm wrong here. I have little doubt you won't.)

By the way, I hope you see the irony in accusing me of making personal attacks when it was YOU who introduced into this discussion such sparkling repartee as:
    Originally posted by cmhservices
    Just because some knuckle dragger paid his way into a fourth tier law school and drooled his way through a pass/ fail bar exam is no reason for me to be impressed.
In short, absolutely nobody cares about this. Somebody said WWE.com was full of shit, which they were and they weren't - as WWE often is - and now we're up to post #waythehelltoomany.
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