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Lawyer revoked after ignoring VSB complaint

A lawyer who failed to respond to a Virginia State Bar investigation, saying only that she was now living in Michigan and no longer practicing law, has had her law license yanked for stonewalling the bar.

When a former client complained in 2010 that she was stiffed by Danville lawyer Tonja M. Roberts on an $11,000 settlement payout, the VSB tried the usual methods to get a response from Roberts. Bar staffers sent three letters advising of the complaint.

A subpoena to Robert’s former law office was ignored. Copies of the subpoena were sent to two different addresses identified for Roberts. A VSB investigator tried to contact Robert’s father and an ex-husband, to no avail.

The VSB resorted to old fashioned shoe leather techniques. The investigator made a visit to Robert’s one-time office in South Boston where he interviewed people in and around the building.

Finally, after a conversation with a former Danville prosecutor, the investigator was able to contact Roberts by phone. She reportedly gave the investigator an address in Michigan, but said she was no longer practicing law and did not remember anything about the client’s case.

Meeting in January, a VSB Disciplinary Board panel voted to immediately revoke Robert’s license for failing to respond to the VSB’s demand for information.

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