By Margaret Mitschke*
At 45 years old, Kimberly Kitchen had achieved many things. She was at one time a partner at a law firm in Pennsylvania, had served over thirty clients at BMZ Law in Pennsylvania in matters concerning estate-planning, and had even been a president for the Huntingdon County Bar Association. The problem was, Kimberly Kitchen had never attended law school, nor had she ever obtained her law license.
An initial reaction would be to ask, “How could no one have known?” It turns out that Kitchen had allegedly forged documents that showed bar exam scores, her having attending law school at Duquesne University, and having obtained a law license. Kitchen has been charged with “forgery, unauthorized practice of law and felony records tampering.”
So what can students at Sam Houston take away from this situation? As students who are or will soon be applying to jobs, the right verifications on a resume can be extremely helpful. Honesty is always the best policy. With the limitless resources provided on the internet, it is relatively easy to verify credentials and licenses.
Even manipulating the truth a little now can catch up to you in the future and have serious repercussions. So how can you as a student protect yourself from unintentional misrepresentation? To verify that your resume represents you well, you can make an appointment with Career Services. They can help you edit your resumes, cover letters, letters of interest, and other documents.
Also, as a SHSU student, you have a full-time attorney on campus as an available resource. As an attorney licensed to practice in Texas, Gene Roberts can provide legal consultation on a number of issues, including expunctions and petitions for nondisclosure to help remove criminal entries on your background, if you are eligible.
If you are looking for an attorney, it is important to make sure they are licensed to practice law. To ensure you are being represented by a qualified attorney, setting up an appointment at Student Legal and Mediation Services to discuss the matter with your on-campus attorney is an option.
You can also go online to TexasBar.com to view the list of licensed attorneys in Texas. When you search for an attorney on its website, there is a coding system that shows whether or not the attorney is eligible to practice (green), not eligible to practice (red), an inactive attorney (yellow), or deceased (blue). Another website, Avvo.com, allows you to ask lawyers questions for free, call reviewed lawyers for a fee, or search through lawyer profiles by what area of law they practice in, what state they are in, or what city they are in.
If you have further questions about attorneys, credentials, law schools, or legal issues, the Student Legal and Mediation Services office is here to help point Bearkats in the right direction. Call us at 936-294-1717, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment with our attorney.