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A federal judge in Ohio has prohibited a Columbia Law School graduate from using the initials “J.D.” after his name. U.S. District Judge Patricia Gaughan on Jan. 14 denied a motion to reconsider filed by Bruce Andrew Brown. A 1984 Columbia Law School graduate, Brown was disbarred from practicing law in New York in 1992 and was convicted of 44 felonies related to the unauthorized practice of law. Gaughan stood by her decision last month that said Brown’s use of “J.D.” after his name was akin to using the “Esq.” designation. “The same reasoning should be applied to the use of the terms ‘Juris Doctor’ or ‘J.D.,’ ” the judge wrote. In 2009, the Supreme Court of Ohio sanctioned Brown $50,000 for the unauthorized practice of law. It also ordered him to stop using “Esq.,” “Esquire,” “Juris Doctor” or “J.D.” after his name. Last year, Brown filed a lawsuit against Ohio’s high court in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio alleging that the “J.D.” restriction, which designates a juris doctor degree but not admission to practice, violated his constitutional rights, including his First Amendment and due process rights. Gaughan dismissed the action last month, relying on a decision in a previous disciplinary matter, which allowed the defendant in that case to continue using “J.D.” because there was no evidence that the designation misled anyone. The judge concluded that Brown apparently intended to use “J.D.” for illegal conduct. “He has used the term to [convince] others, including a federal judge and city prosecutor, that he was an attorney,” the judge wrote. “Any other purported legal use of these terms is inconsequential compared to his past conduct.” Brown brought the action pro se. He could not be reached for comment. Leigh Jones can be contacted at [email protected].

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