NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Supreme Court, at the behest of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC), ruled on April 13 to discipline Texas attorney Lance Hac Nguyen.
Nguyen, a Houston attorney who was only licensed in Texas, was granted pro hac vice status, or permission to practice in a jurisdiction in which he was not licensed, to represent Tyrone Thibeaux in the Western District of Louisiana. Thibeaux was one of four defendants charged with intent to distribute cocaine in large quantities between Lafayette and Houston. It was discovered during sentencing that Nguyen had inappropriately contacted one of the codefendants, Glen Charles, without the consent or knowledge of Charles’ attorney.
The matter was presented to the discipline boards in Texas and Louisiana. The ODC contacted Nguyen several times, but the attorney failed to respond. The ODC ruled that Nguyen’s conduct, willful violations of professional conduct codes and the lack of cooperation from the attorney caused extensive use of resources, warranted discipline and a one-year suspension was recommended.
Because Nguyen is not licensed in Louisiana and the state has no ability to impose disciplinary measures on his Texas license, it was determined that the state would prevent Nguyen from acquiring a license or another pro hac vice status in Louisiana.
Nguyen has been a member of the Texas State Bar since 1999. He is a graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago and holds a doctorate in jurisprudence from the South Texas College of Law. He had no prior record of discipline.