Jeffrey Partlow’s apparent lack of a law license hasn’t kept him out of the legal representation business over the last nine years:

A Dallas man arrested on suspicion of showing up to court intoxicated is now also accused of practicing law without a license.

Judge Andrew Bench summoned deputies to his Hunt County courtroom on Oct. 22, telling them that Jeffrey Scott Partlow was intoxicated.

After Partlow was arrested for Public Intoxication and held in contempt, presumably for the drunkenness, the judge decided to call the licensing authorities:

The judge was so angry that he called the Texas Bar Association to have Partlow sanctioned, only to learn no one by that name was registered with the bar.

"During the investigation, we determined that he was not an actual licensed attorney," Sheriff Randy Meeks said… He remains jailed in Hunt County on the contempt charge. The Hunt County district attorney is expected this week to present a felony case to a grand jury against Partlow for impersonating an attorney.

Assuming this is all true, I have some good news for Partlow. If he never hit the books actually studying criminal law, he might want to look up Faretta v California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). If he does end up getting indicted, it’ll probably be under Texas Penal Code Section 38.122, Falsely Holding Oneself Out As A Lawyer:

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to obtain an economic benefit for himself or herself, the person holds himself or herself out as a lawyer, unless he or she is currently licensed to practice law in this state, another state, or a foreign country and is in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and the state bar or licensing authority of any and all other states and foreign countries where licensed.

Third degree felony, ouch. While it’s true that the doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, the Faretta decision gives Partlow the right to represent himself – legally – in his own criminal case. Might be his last shot at it. Somewhat off topic, the article also notes:

Partlow never advertised in a newspaper, phone book or online. All of his clients apparently came from recommendations from former clients.

Austin Defender and I were eating delicious crispy beef tacos (gratuitous plug for El Arroyo) over lunch yesterday and discussing the issue of how clients ought to pick their lawyers. I argued that criminal defendants would do themselves* a big favor if they asked everyone they knew for recommendations, rather than picking up the yellow pages to find the lawyer with the glitziest ad.

Who knows… maybe this guy was doing a decent job.

[*OK, they might be doing me a favor too, since I don’t advertise in phone books, or send mailers, and the vast majority of my clients come from referrals.]