Is Sen. David Vitter licensed to practice law?


Update on 03-30-09: Senator Vitter is an inactive member of the LSBA.

Because Senator David Vitter (R-LA) keeps showing up like a bad penny, I decided to research whether his various criminal activities violated any professional conduct rules of any bar associations to which he might be admitted. I first checked the Louisiana State Bar Association Membership Directory Active Member Search but the search yielded the following result: No matches have been found! I then searched Martindale.com for Sen. Vitter and, again, the search provided no result.

I thought at this point that Senator Vitter may not be an attorney, but according to SourceWatch [emphasis supplied]:

[Sen. Vitter] was born May 3, 1961 in New Orleans, was educated at Harvard University, Oxford University (and was a Rhodes Scholar), and Tulane University, and was a lawyer and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives before entering the House.

Sen. Vitter’s Wikipedia entry also states that he “was a lawyer and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 to 1999, when he entered the U.S. House.” [emphasis supplied.] However, Sen. Vitter’s Senate website biography page does not mention his Tulane University law degree or any prior work experience as an attorney. Further research has failed to confirm the Senator’s admission to any bar association in the United States.*

Via his webmail service, I have asked Sen. Vitter to confirm which, if any, bar associations he is now, or has ever been, a member:

Sen. Vitter,

I have read in several places that you went to Tulane law school and worked as an attorney. However, I have been unable to confirm that you are licensed to practice law or that you are admitted to any state or the DC bars. Please advise if you are licensed to practice law in any jurisdiction and whether you’re a member of any bar association.

Thank you,
E.M.

I’ll update this post if I receive a response from Sen. Vitter. In the meantime, if you have any information about whether Sen. Vitter is licensed to practice law and, if he is, the jurisdiction(s) in which he is admitted to practice, please contact me at:

  • grievanceproject AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks,

E.M./The Grievance Project

Crossposted at Oxdown Gazette.

Tags: , , , , , ,

*I searched Martindale.com for Sen. Vitter but the search provided no result for the Senator.

I also searched the online directories for the following states plus Washington, D.C. (I have compiled the links to these online member directories – as well as all links for the state bar home pages and attorney grievance information, rules of professional conduct and grievance forms – for the 50 states and DC here.) Interestingly, instead of clicking a button to Search, Start Search or Find A Lawyer, I had to click the word ‘Execute’ to run an online attorney search in North Dakota. Following are the results returned for the searches I conducted:

Alabama Membership Directory: Your search found 0 matches.

Alaska Bar Association Membership Directory: [No result.]

State Bar of Arizona – Find a Lawyer: No Records Found
State Bar of Arizona – Member Finder: Search Results: 0 Attorney Found

Arkansas Licensed Attorney Search: 0 record(s)

California Attorney/Member Search: Your search for vitter returned no results.

Colorado Attorney Status and Disciplinary History: No matches found!
Colorado Attorney Disciplinary (only) History: No matches found!

Connecticut Attorney/Firm Inquiry: No Records Found for Attorney*/Firm Name: vitter

Delaware: No online search available.

Florida Find a Lawyer: Your search yielded no results. Please try again.

State Bar of Georgia Member Directory Search: 0 record(s)

Hawai’i: Authorized to Practice Law: [No result.]
Hawai’i: Not Authorized to Practice Law: [No result.]
Hawai’i: Not Authorized to Practice Law Except Pro Bono Cases: [No result.]
Hawai’i: Pro Hac Vice: [No result.]
Hawai’i: HSBA Member Directory: [No result.]

Idaho Attorney Roster Search: No records returned.

Illinois Lawyer Search: [No result.]

Indiana Supreme Court Roll of Attorneys: No Records Found

Iowa Judicial Branch Search for Lawyers Licensed in Iowa: No Records Exist

Kansas: No online search available.

Kentucky Lawyer Locator: Sorry, no records matched your criteria.

Louisiana State Bar Association Membership Directory Active Member Search: No matches have been found!

Maine Attorney Information Search: No records selected

Maryland Judiciary Attorney Listing: NO RECORDS MATCHED THE SEARCH CRITERIA

Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers Attorney Search by Name or City: [No result.]

State Bar of Michigan Member Directory: No members found.

Minnesota Lawyer Public Discipline Search: [No result.]
Minnesota Judicial Branch Lawyer Search: No records found…

Mississippi Attorney Directory: No results found.

Official Missouri Directory of Lawyers: No results found.

Montana: No online search available.

Nebraska Lawyer Search: Your search returned 0 results.

Nevada Find-A-Lawyer: No records returned.

New Hampshire Member Directory for HHBA members – Requires password: No search conducted.
New Hampshire Member Directory for the Public – Under construction: No search conducted.

New Jersey: No general member directory available
New Jersey: Disciplinary Histories from 1990 through last calendar year: [No result.]

State Bar of New Mexico Attorney/Firm_Finder: Your search has returned no results.

New York Attorney Search: Your search returned no results.

North Carolina State Bar Member Directory: Your search came back empty

North Dakota Lawyers Directory: No documents matched the query

Supreme Court of Ohio Attorney Information Search: 0 Attorneys Found

Oklahoma Bar Association Attorney Search: 0 Attorneys Found

Oregon State Bar Membership Directory: No match found

Pennsylvania Attorney Inquiry Search: 0 records found

Rhode Island Member Directory Search: There are no members with that information.

South Carolina Bar Member Directory: Sorry, there were no results.

South Dakota Lawyer Referral: [No result.]

Tennessee Bar Association Attorney Search: Sorry, no records found.
Online Attorney Directory of the Board of Professional Responsibility: No records were found matching your constraints.

Texas Member Directory: Your search has returned no result.

Utah State Bar Attorney & Associate Member Directory Service: [No result.]

Vermont: No online search available.

Virginia State Bar (Voluntary) Member Directory: Site temporarily down. No search conducted.
Virginia Attorneys Without Malpractice: No matches found.
Virginia State Bar Disciplined Attorneys : No matches found.

Washington State Bar Association (Voluntary) Lawyer Directory: Your search returned no results.

D.C. Bar Member Search: Records matching your search criteria: 0

West Virginia State Bar Association Member Search: [No result.]

State Bar of Wisconsin Lawyer Directory Search: Sorry, no attorney data matches your search …

Wyoming State Bar Membership Directory: Your search found no records.

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17 Responses

  1. Oh my, have you exposed a fraud? I bet Vitter claims some person unknown to them made the false entry in Wiki.

    Vitter is shameless – maybe he will just try to pretend nobody noticed.

    Excellent work.

  2. Hey Capt,

    It’s strange that there’s public references to his degree and work experience as an attorney but no reference on his website to this part of his past and no evidence that he’s a member of any bar association.

    I had some interesting visitors stop by today to read this post:

    156.33.35.41 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
    District Of Columbia, Washington, United States, 0 returning visit
    March 17th 2009 03:45:33 PM No referring link
    grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

    156.33.35.50 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
    District Of Columbia, Washington, United States, 0 returning visit
    March 17th 2009 03:43:04 PM No referring link
    grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

    156.33.35.86 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
    District Of Columbia, Washington, United States, 0 returning visit
    March 17th 2009 03:30:09 PM No referring link
    grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

    156.33.35.45 (U.S. Senate Sergeant At Arms)
    District Of Columbia, Washington, United States, 0 returning visit
    March 17th 2009 03:17:51 PM No referring link
    grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

    March 17th 2009 03:18:10 PM No referring link
    grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

    From the times and the different ISPs, it looks like this post was forwarded to and read by several different Senate offices.

  3. Oh my my my,

    Let a little sunshine in.

    This might be very interesting indeed

  4. I posted this post as a diary at Oxdown Gazette. It’s been on the top ten diaries at FireDogLake since I posted it. It’s been getting traffic all day so maybe I have hit a nerve.

  5. THAT ROCKS!

  6. hey e.m.,
    for the uninformed, like me, does one have to pass the bar exam in order to be a lawyer, or does receiving a jd make someone a lawyer? you can go to medical school and get an md and never practice medicine, so i’m wondering if it works the same way for lawyers.

    • Nonnie,

      General definitions,

      Attorney: In the most general sense, an attorney is someone who is appointed and authorized to act on someone’s behalf, as in a Power of Attorney. In that case, the person receiving the power is a lay person and is known as an Attorney in Fact. as opposed to an Attorney at Law. Usually, though, ‘attorney’ refers to an Attorney at Law, which is a person admitted to practice law, draft legal documents and provide legal advice.

      Counsellor: Member of legal profession who provides advice and assistance regarding some legal matter or proposed course of conduct. (Ex.: ‘Counsellor and Attorney at Law”) Generally denotes the person will provide both legal advice, i.e., can I do X, as well as non-legal advice, i.e., should I do W.

      Lawyer: someone licensed to practice law. Bar admissions do require that the person pass the state bar exam.

      Juris Doctorate (JD): The degree conferred by the university. A JD does not permit someone to practice law.

      These definitions are based on my Black’s Law Dictionary.

  7. EM,

    Other than the fact that Vitter is a lying scumbag, what difference will this make?

    Not raining on your parade, for I believe Vitter should be voted out (and that would be my guess as to why), but what can this gain?

    Is it illegal to be a Senator or even a lying senator?

    Jesus, we’d have to get rid of 9/10’s of them.

    And, when I compare this to the atrocities that the Bush cabal with a complacent Congress did, hell Vitter is a sweetheart.

    • I don’t know if anything I write will make a difference, B’Man, but every time I turn around lately I seem to see this sanctimonious ass of a Senator spewing his hypocritical lies.

      I do think that the more the true character of the Republicans’ spokespersons are exposed, they will continue to become even less credible and more irrelevant.

      I don’t even know if Sen. Vitter is an attorney and I haven’t even analyzed the facts of this case vis a vis the Lousiana rules of conduct. So, at this point, I don’t if an ethical violation even occurred.

      From what I’ve found so far, though, the story appears to be that if he was an attorney, why is he now NOT an attorney. It’s a big deal to have your license taken. If it was taken, there would be an account of it. Somewhere. It’s also a big deal to voluntarily give up your license to practice law, whether you practice or not. And resigning his license is the only way I know that he could lose his license and not have the proceedings reported.

      I’m sure his wife thinks he’s a sweetheart, too.

      • I wouldn’t bet on the wife thing.

        :-)

        He is a scumbag, for sure.

      • If you recall the press conferences his wife attended after the DC Madam scandal hit the press, she looked positively pissed. Apparently, she’s also an attorney and was a prosecutor.

  8. Quite an exhaustive search there.

    I applaud your efforts, as always, E.M.

  9. Thanks, Gene’O.

  10. […] Is Sen. David Vitter licensed to practice law? […]

  11. […] Is Sen. David Vitter licensed to practice law? […]

  12. Someone from the Louisiana Supreme Court was checking up on Sen. Vitter today. I hope (s)he decides to properly investigate this man’s fitness to practice law.

    VISITOR ANALYSIS
    Referring Link No referring link
    Host Name
    IP Address 208.16.108.5 [Label IP Address]
    Country United States
    Region Missouri
    City Salem
    ISP State Of Louisiana Supreme Court – Ja/cmis
    Returning Visits 0
    Visit Length 0 seconds
    VISITOR SYSTEM SPECS
    Browser MSIE 7.0
    Operating System Windows XP
    Resolution Unknown
    Javascript Disabled
    Navigation Path
    Date Time WebPage
    September 30th 2009 02:23:19 PM No referring link
    grievanceproject.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/is-sen-david-vitter-licensed-to-practice-law/

  13. […] Is Sen. David Vitter licensed to practice law? (grievanceproject.wordpress.com) […]

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