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DOUGLAS E. BARFIELD v. MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR ASSOCIATION

JUNE 28, 1989

DOUGLAS E. BARFIELD
v.
MISSISSIPPI STATE BAR ASSOCIATION



EN BANC.

ROY NOBLE LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Douglas Barfield has appealed to this Court from an order of the Complaint Tribunal entered upon default, disbarring him from the practice of law.

FACTS

 Douglas Barfield graduated from law school at the University of Mississippi Law Center on May 21, 1984, with the degree Juris Doctor. He ranked No. 82 out a class of 105, and had an earned GPA of 2.45. Respondent was admitted to practice law in the State of Mississippi and became subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Mississippi and its designated agencies.

 On or about April 29, 1986, the respondent rented a post office box in his name in the City of Jackson, MS, i.e., P.O. Box 2811.

 On May 1, 1986, the respondent sent a letter to the Law Center at University of Mississippi, to the attention of Ms. Dorothy Goss, requesting that she send to the named individual signing the letter a certified copy of the transcript of that person's academic record at the University of Mississippi for the years 1981 through 1984. The letter was signed by someone using the signature of "Jimmy Reid Sledge." Mr. Sledge did not prepare, draft, sign, authorize, or consent to the use of his name or participate in any way with preparing and sending the letter. *fn1 The return address for the letter was the post office box that Mr. Barfield had rented. On May 6, Ms. Goss, in response to the letter, forwarded a copy of Mr. Sledge's transcript as requested.

 On June 4, 1986, respondent wrote the New Orleans law firm of Lemle, Kelleher, Kohlmeyer, Dennery, Hunley, Moss & Frilot, to explore employment opportunities with that firm. In the letter of June 4, the respondent enclosed a resume and transcript that provided the firm with details of what Barfield represented to be the respondent's experience and education. The transcript was the transcript of Mr. Sledge. On the front of the transcript, respondent placed his picture and typed in his name and adopted the transcript of Mr. Sledge as his own.

 Upon receiving respondent's letter and transcript, the New Orleans law firm represented by Paul Deal and other members of the firm interviewed the respondent on several occasions which resulted in an offer of employment and he accepted the offer on July 9, 1986.

 On June 6, 1986, the respondent forwarded to the

 Supreme Court of Louisiana's Committee on Bar Admissions his application to take the July, 1986, Louisiana Bar. On June 30, 1986, Betty Ardowin, Assistant Secretary to the Committee on Bar Admissions of Louisiana, advised respondent that the committee had not received a certification from the University of Mississippi School of Law's Dean verifying the respondent's attendance and graduation at such school or a certificate of good standing from the Mississippi State Bar. Barfield never provided such certification to the Louisiana Bar and did not in fact take the Louisiana Bar exam.

 From August through October of 1986, Barfield represented to the employing law firm that he had in fact taken the Louisiana Bar in July of 1986. When the Bar examination was administered and the examination results released to the public, the respondent advised the law firm that he had not received the results of his examination. Mr. Deal of that firm, upon being so informed, inquired of the Louisiana State Bar as to why the respondent had not received a grade. The law firm then learned that the respondent had been refused permission to take the Louisiana State Bar and, in fact, had not taken the exam.

 After a number of meetings with the respondent, during which the respondent insisted that he had not been denied permission to take the Louisiana Bar and had taken such examination, the law firm requested a meeting with the Louisiana State Bar officials charged with the responsibility of administering and conducting the Bar exam. The respondent personally requested the scheduling of such meeting, but upon being advised that the meeting was scheduled, resigned from employment with the law firm by a letter dated October 3, 1986.

 On October 3, 1986, Mr. Deal, acting on behalf of the law firm, wrote the University of Mississippi Law School and requested the following information: (1) a copy of respondent's law school transcript; (2) whether or not respondent served on the Mississippi Law Journal; (3) whether or not respondent served on the Moot Court Board; and (4) whether or not respondent was active in Pi Alpha Delta legal fraternity as an officer and member. The law school responded by letter dated October 9, 1986. This letter advised the New Orleans law firm that respondent did not serve on the Mississippi Law Journal, that he did not serve on the Moot Court Board, and Ole Miss provided a true and accurate transcript of Douglas Barfield, which, of course, was not the transcript he had provided the law firm.

 After receiving this information from Ole Miss, Mr. Deal and other employees of the firm began an examination and comparison of the documents and discovered many discrepancies between the ...


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