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'Lawyer' Accused of Practicing Without License, Pocketing Clients' Money

Posted March 7, 2007

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— A disbarred lawyer is in trouble with the law, accused of practicing without a license and taking thousands of dollars in settlement money that belonged to his clients.

It’s not the first time Randy Meares, 50, of Wake Forest has faced the problem.

Meares faces six charges of practicing law without a license over a three-year period, following an investigation by the State Bureau of Investigation. His first court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Arrest warrants allege that Meares, who was disbarred in 1998, settled multiple insurance claims on behalf of clients, but kept nearly $60,000 in settlement money.

"I'm not surprised," said attorney Root Edmonson, deputy counsel with the North Carolina State Bar, the state agency that regulates the practice of law in Noth Carolina.

Edmonson says Meares’ disbarment stemmed from a similar charge of taking more than $34,000 of his clients’ money. Edmonson said it was likely Meares continued to practice by settling cases with insurance companies out of court.

"These cases didn't go through the court system. Someone would have known it if he had tried to file anything in court," Edmonson said. "I'm just sorry for the people who used him thinking he was a lawyer."

Meares was released on a $25,000 bond. WRAL spoke with Meares over the phone Tuesday, but he declined to comment.

There was no word on whether the insurance companies or victims plan to challenge the settlements Meares negotiated for them.

The North Carolina State Bar suggests you do your homework before hiring a lawyer. The best advice is to ask around.

Talk to family member or friends who have hired an attorney and ask them about their experience, the bar suggested. Also, find out if the attorney is in good standing by calling the State Bar or going to its Web site.


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  • Politically Honest NOT PC Mar 7, 2007


  • Squirreling Dervish Mar 7, 2007

    Just like with every other profession, you MUST get a recommendation and check referrals. Check with the Bar association, get a recommendation and have a preliminary meeting. There are GREAT lawyers out there and there are money-grubbers out there. You would not take your car someplece without a recommedation would you? I learned my lesson! I now think smart and research, research, research!!

  • mslisac363 Mar 7, 2007

    I was thinking pocketing money is what all lawyers do.

  • St Ives Mar 7, 2007

    The sad thing is these kind of people ruin someones retirement plans or ruin them financialy and they get a slap on the wrist. Happened a few years back. Anyone remember the guy in Wake Forest who claimed he cheated people because his brother was terminally ill and he needed to help him. Never mentioned the high life style he was living or the beautiful two carot dimond his wife sported.

  • diwanicki Mar 7, 2007

    What a smuck!!

  • packandcanesfan Mar 7, 2007

    Like there aren't enough hands in our pockets taking our money anyway. Hard to have trust anymore.

  • spiritwarriorwoman Mar 7, 2007

    Praying for full restitution for his victims. God bless. Rev. RB

  • tarheel1980 Mar 7, 2007

    You're right. Nifong broke the rules so this guy is innocent. What about the people he stole from?

  • El Doggo Mar 7, 2007

    Lets see how "equal" the treatment of Nifong is!!!!

  • El Doggo Mar 7, 2007

    This guy must have graduated at the top of his class! He really showed his aptitude as a lawyer!