When we first got a tip that a Florida lawyer had been disbarred for making a client pay her fees with sexual favors, we thought, “Ho hum. Another crazy Florida lawyer.” Then we Googled the pro boner attorney, James Harvey Tipler, and found out that the low-life lawyer has a sterling Stanford degree.
According to his Justia profile and his listing on the California Bar Association website, Tipler is a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law School. We hope this doesn’t make Stanford fall even lower in the U.S. News rankings.
Tipler is not the first Stanford Law graduate to get mixed up in sex work. But making an 18-year-old client pay for legal work on her parental custody case with sexual favors is a new low.
From the Florida Supreme Court order disbarring Tipler:
Tipler charged his client a fee of $2,300 and entered into a fee agreement with her that allowed a “credit of $200 for each time she engaged in sex with Respondent” and a “$400 credit if she arranged for other females to have sex with him.” For his misdeeds, Tipler was charged with racketeering and four counts of prostitution. He ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution.
Fellatio in exchange for filings was not Tipler’s only offense. He’s gotten into trouble in many other ways, and not just in Florida. He’s got a record in California and Alabama, and we suspect he may be trying to set up shop in South Carolina now. More after the jump.
We don’t know the going rates for prostitution, but making his client work off her $2,300 bill at $200 a “pop” seems pretty stingy. When she recruited a friend to help pay off her debt, Tipler was willing to accept sex at a $400 rate.
But that wasn’t Tipler’s only ethics violation, says the order:
Tipler has broken numerous Bar rules. He satisfied his own sexual appetite with a client as part of a sex-for-fees arrangement. He altered evidence and caused a witness to unknowingly give false testimony. He has charged his clients excessive fees and stolen their money. He has failed to maintain a trust account. He has broken public confidence in the profession of the practice of law by neglecting his clients and failing to prosecute their cases. He has labored under a conflict of interest. He has prejudiced the administration of justice by misrepresenting facts to multiple courts. And, throughout the disciplinary process in these cases, he has been dilatory, deceitful, and evasive. Tipler has thus engaged in an ongoing pattern of egregious misconduct.
We imagine this is going to provide excellent fodder for lawyers-screwing-their-clients-for-money jokes.
But Tipler may not be done with the law. We came across his e-mail address on the Florida Bar Association site and Googled it. To our surprise and dismay, we discovered this job listing. Looks like Tipler may be setting up an immigration law office in South Carolina:
Some ATL readers must have crossed paths with Tipler at Stanford. Who is this guy? Is he really Stanford material? Tell us more about him. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disbarment Order [Florida Supreme Court]
Fla. lawyer disbarred for sex with client [Associated Press]