Brainerd attorney Robin Flores is questioning whether City Council District 6 candidate Carol Berz can legitimately call herself an attorney.
Attorney Flores said, "The Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility website does not show an active or inactive license to practice law for a Carol Berz. She appears to be a Rule 31 mediator approved by the Tennessee Supreme Court."
Mike Loftin, who is working with the Berz campaign, said, "Carol Berz earned her law degree in Nashville - the same place that Judge Jackie Schulten and District Attorney Bill Cox earned theirs. So she's an attorney."
He added, "Ms. Berz went on to get her doctorate and has her own mediation business handling conflict resolution."
Attorney Flores said, "Black's Law Dictionary defines 'lawyer' as 'one who is licensed to practice law.' (Black's Law Dictionary, pocket ed. pg. 365). Webster's defines 'lawyer' as, 'a person whose profession is to represent clients in a court of law or to advise or act for them in other legal matters.' (Webster's College Dictionary, 1995 ed. pg. 768).
"As one who passed the Tennessee Bar Examination, and one who is admitted to practice law in Tennessee, the Court of Appeals for Veteran's Claims, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (application pending), the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, authorized to practice in all U.S. Immigration Courts, and having recently applied to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Georgia Bar, I am concerned that someone runs for public office with the quoted title of 'lawyer' and no record of having achieved that title."
Attorney Flores said, "Although the Sunday edition (op-ed) of the Times/Free-Press endorses Ms. Berz as a 'lawyer,' (specializing) in mediation and conflict resolution' there are specific steps a lawyer must take under Tennessee rules to obtain any specialty. None appears for Ms. Berz with the TBOPR).
"With the recent flap over the representations of Marti Rutherford, I think this should come to light. Moreover, many lawyers know first-hand the rigorous admissions process to any bar. Background and character checks and a strenuous and expensive bar exam, not to mention the JD and undergraduate (which I concede she holds) requirements, and the continued and costly legal education requirements, are all things lawyers must do to earn the title, 'lawyer.'"