Fake Lawyer Almost Graduated from Cooley, Pleads Guilty to Theft

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 01, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's standard lawyer (and law student) snobbery to joke about how a graduate of Thomas M. Cooley Law School is destined to be a fake lawyer, forever floundering in a pool of T14-sized debt with nothing more than a useless TTT education to show for it.

Sadly enough, one Kelly Fulmer of Boone County, Kentucky took this one step further:

He decided to play lawyer for nearly five years--even though he never completed his coursework at Cooley, much less passed the bar.

Last week Kelly Fulmer pled guilty to one count of felony theft by deception and three counts of unauthorized practice of law, notes the Chillicothe Gazette, admitting in open court that, despite representing dozens of clients, he is not a licensed attorney.

Officials got word of the fake lawyer and ex-school board president last September after a former client complained to a second attorney about his shoddy representation in a probate matter.

Turns out that he had created a fake bar number and had been telling people that he had graduated from "Michigan Law School," reports the ABA Journal.

The truth isn't even remotely close. Fulmer actually dropped out of Cooley with one semester to go, reports the Chillicothe Gazette.

So, what's next for Kelly Fulmer?

For one, he'll be adding to the aforementioned useless debt by paying restitution to his ex-clients, reports the paper. But instead of spending the next three years in the big house, the judge took pity on the fake lawyer, permitting him to enter a pretrial diversion program.

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