Michael Shames, head of watchdog Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), has rejoined the State Bar of California. His readmission is dated Oct. 5.
Earlier this year, the Reader reported that Shames had not been a member of the bar since 1988, although he identified himself as a lawyer and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) also listed him as an attorney. A whistle blower within UCAN took the matter to the CPUC, which ruled that Shames did not have to be a lawyer.
However, a consultant hired by the UCAN board questioned the CPUC's reading of California law and recommended that Shames stop calling himself an attorney. After the initial Reader story appeared, Shames pointed out that he was still calling himself an attorney. At least one board member was upset about his not being in the bar while claiming to be a lawyer.
It turned out that Shames didn't only practice before the CPUC. The Reader reported that he had co-filed an amicus brief before the appellate court while not a bar member. The whistle blower says that the bar is still investigating.