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Marshall C. Watson Name Change? I don't think so.

Of all the horrible foreclosure mills in Florida, The Law Offices of Marshall C. Watson has historically been one of the worst. And it finally got caught up with them. In January, as a result of numerous Bar violations, Watson plead guilty and accepted a 91-day suspension. 

That's bad. The 91 day suspension is demonstrably worse than a 90 day suspension. It requires the Bar's permission to be readmitted to the practice of law and one might even have to re-take the Bar exam. Further, it requires the suspended lawyer to close his or her practice.

I thought this meant the certain end of Marshall C. Watson. But--and I shouldn't have been surprised--they've tried to find a way to circumvent the rules (again). In all of my foreclosure cases in which Watson represents the bank, they've filed a document called the Notice of Change of Firm Name. The new firm is called Choice Legal Group, P.A. And it has the same address, the same phone number (not that they ever answer it over there), the same cases, and the same clients. They didn't close the firm; they just changed the name. 

So, today, I just couldn't let it slide. I think the firm needs to (at the very least) file a Substittution of Counsel in these cases. Otherwise, the suspension means very little at all. And, in that the firm has to close per the rules, I'm not sure they have the capacity to change its name or prosecute these actions.

I've not seen this done before but I've been filing Motions to Compel Substittuion of Counsel in these cases. A sample is attached here. I'm not sure the Court will care about this at all--they might say it's a Bar issue. But frankly, I'm tired of these mills thinking the rules don't apply to them.