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U of Penn Law Grad Pleads Guilty
To Practicing Law Without a License

By Lisa Leff

January 19, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO A former Monterey County public defender who once worked at the U.S. Justice Department on a settlement with black farmers pleaded guilty Thursday to charges she practiced law in California without a license and cashed her paychecks under false pretenses.

Margaret O'Shea, 39, entered the plea as part of an agreement with prosecutors under which she would not have to serve prison time unless she committed any crimes during three years of felony probation, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Somers.

O'Shea, a Stanford University graduate who earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000, resigned from the Monterey County public defender's office in September 2004 when it was learned she was not a member of the California Bar. She worked there for