Dallas Man Accused of Being Phony Attorney

Investigators say man practiced law without a license for nearly 10 years, jeopardizing thousands of cases

A Dallas man arrested on suspicion of showing up to court intoxicated is now also accused of practicing law without a license.

Judge Andrew Bench summoned deputies to his Hunt County courtroom on Oct. 22, telling them that Jeffrey Scott Partlow was intoxicated.

The judge was so angry that he called the Texas Bar Association to have Partlow sanctioned, only to learn no one by that name was registered with the bar.

"During the investigation, we determined that he was not an actual licensed attorney," Sheriff Randy Meeks said.

Every attorney practicing in Texas is required by law to be a member of the Texas Bar Association.

Investigators say Partlow is not a member of any bar association. He has a few paralegal courses under his belt, but does not have a law degree, they said.

Partlow's arrest could have statewide ramifications. He is believed to have practiced law in courtrooms across Texas since at least 2001.

"He could have handled thousands -- it could be in the thousands where he has represented himself as an attorney," Meeks said.

Every case Partlow has been involved in could be appealed or overturned, Meeks said. The cases could include clients now in jail or prison, as well as people who believe they are divorced but are still legally married.

"I know in this profession, we see a lot of things that affect people severely, and this is one of the cases that I think is going to affect families all over the state of Texas," Meeks said.

The state attorney general's office is ordering a review of Partlow’s cases, which include actions with the Internal Revenue Service and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The review also includes cases in family, civil and criminal courts in 18 Texas counties, including Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton and Bexar counties.

Hunt County is already investigating the case of a mother Partlow represented in a child custody dispute. Deputies said Partlow failed to show up for a court appearance, and the woman lost custody of her child.

Partlow never advertised in a newspaper, phone book or online. All of his clients apparently came from recommendations from former clients.

He worked out of an apartment in Dallas that has evicted him since he was jailed on contempt of court and public intoxication charges.

Meeks said that Texas law states that lawyers only have present confirmation of their law license in court if a judge specifically asks for it or if they are compensated in any way with public funds.

Investigators say Partlow was never asked for confirmation of his license in any of the 18 counties where has represented clients.

The attorney general's office continues to notify courthouses that Partlow is not an attorney.

He remains jailed in Hunt County on the contempt charge. The Hunt County district attorney is expected this week to present a felony case to a grand jury against Partlow for impersonating an attorney.

Former clients of Partlow who need an attorney are asked to contact Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas at 1-888-529-5277.

Contact Us