Rule 19-742. Order of disbarment or suspension.
(a) Duties of Clerk. Upon the filing of an order of disbarment or suspension, the Clerk of the Court of Appeals shall (1) notify the attorney in writing by first-class mail, and, if practicable, by electronic mail, and (2) comply with Rule 19-761.
(b) Effect of Order. Except as provided in section (c) of this Rule, after the effective date of an order of disbarment or suspension, an attorney may not:
(1) practice law or offer to practice law in this State, either directly or through any other person;
(2) undertake any new representation of existing clients or any representation of new clients;
(3) solicit or procure any legal business or retainer for an attorney, whether or not for personal gain;
(4) share in any fees for legal services performed by another attorney, but may be compensated for the reasonable value of services rendered prior to the effective date of the order;
(5) use any business card, sign, advertisement, social networking media, website, or other form of communication suggesting that the attorney is entitled to practice law or maintain, alone or with another, an office for the practice of law; or
Committee note: Examples of social networking media include Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, and Twitter.
(6) except for the limited purpose of complying with the requirements of section (c) of this Rule:
(A) occupy, share, or use office space in which an attorney practices law unless under circumstances clearly indicating to clients, prospective clients, and individuals who may visit the office that the attorney is not an attorney and is not permitted to practice law; or
(B) use any stationery, bank account, checks, or labels on which the attorney's name appears as an attorney or in connection with any office for the practice of law.
Cross reference: For the applicability of the provisions of section (b) of this Rule to an attorney who is placed on permanent retired status, see Rule 19-740 (e)(4).
(c) Affirmative Duties of Attorney. Unless the Court orders otherwise, an attorney who has been disbarred or suspended shall take the following actions:
(1) Requirements to be Completed Within 15 Days. Within 15 days after the effective date of the order, the attorney shall:
(A) conclude all client matters that can be concluded within that period;
(B) supply to Bar Counsel or an attorney designated by Bar Counsel pursuant to section (e) of this Rule (i) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all of the attorney's current clients and (ii) identify, by client name, tribunal, and docket reference, all client matters pending in any court or other tribunal or agency; and
(C) mail a letter giving notice of the order and of the effective date of the attorney's disbarment or suspension to (i) all of the attorney's current clients, (ii) counsel for each party and any self-represented party in all pending actions, proceedings, negotiations, or transactions, and (iii) each attorney with whom the attorney is associated in the practice of law.
Committee note: An attorney's current clients include persons who have hired the attorney on retainer. A person may be a current client even if the attorney was not actively performing any legal work for that person on the date of disbarment or suspension.
(2) Requirements to be Completed Promptly and Within 30 Days. As soon as practicable but within 30 days after the effective date of the order, the attorney shall:
(A) take or cause to be taken, without charging any additional fee, any action immediately necessary to protect the interests of current clients which, as a practical matter, cannot otherwise be protected;
Committee note: The intent of subsection (c)(2)(A) of this Rule is to assure that existing clients are not unduly harmed by the attorney's immediate disbarment or suspension by requiring the attorney, during a brief grace period and without any additional fee, to deal with urgent matters necessary to protect the clients' interests, such things as requesting a postponement of closely impending hearings or trials or filing a paper in a pending case which, if not done prior to the client's practical ability to obtain another attorney, would result in significant harm to the client. See Attorney Grievance v. Maignan, 402 Md. 39 (2007). This is intended as a very narrow and time-limited exception to the prohibition against practicing law. Because the need for such action arises solely from the attorney's disbarment or suspension, the Rule prohibits the charging of a fee for those services.
(B) inform current clients, in writing, that the client may obtain another attorney, and that it may be necessary for the client to obtain another attorney depending upon the status of the client's case or legal matter.
(C) deliver to clients with pending matters all papers and other property to which the clients are entitled or notify the clients and any co-counsel of a suitable time and place to obtain the papers and property and call attention to any urgent need to obtain them;
(D) notify the disciplinary authority in each jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted to practice of the disciplinary sanction imposed by the Court of Appeals; and
(E) unless the attorney is suspended for a fixed period of time not exceeding one year, request the publisher of each telephone directory or law listing to remove each listing or reference that suggests that the attorney is eligible to practice law; request the attorney's name be removed from the law firm's website and letterhead; and remove any reference that the attorney is eligible to practice law from any website or social networking profile, regardless of whether the website or profile is that of the attorney individually or of a law firm or other group or entity.
(3) Requirements to be Completed Within 30 Days. Within 30 days after the effective date of the order, the attorney shall:
(A) withdraw from all client matters; and
(B) file with Bar Counsel an affidavit that states or is accompanied by:
(i) the manner and extent to which the attorney has complied with the order and this Rule;
(ii) all actions taken by the attorney pursuant to subsection (b)(2)(A) and (B) of this Rule;
(iii) the names of all State and Federal jurisdictions in which and administrative agencies before which the attorney has been admitted to practice;
(iv) the residence and other addresses of the attorney to which future communications may be directed;
(v) the name and address of each insurer that provided malpractice insurance coverage to the attorney during the past five years, the policy number of each policy, and the inclusive dates of coverage; and
(vi) a copy of each letter sent pursuant to subsection (b)(1)(C) of this Rule.
(d) Duties of Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel shall enforce the order and the provisions of this Rule. Bar Counsel may designate an attorney to monitor compliance by the disbarred or suspended attorney and to receive the lists and copies of letters required by subsections (c)(1)(B) and (c)(2)(B) of this Rule.
(e) Conditions on Reinstatement.
(1) Time for Application. In an order that suspends an attorney for an indefinite period, the Court may permit the attorney to apply for reinstatement after a minimum period of time specified in the Order.
(2) Other Conditions to or Upon Reinstatement. In an order of suspension for an indefinite or fixed period entered under this Rule, the Court may require, as a condition precedent to reinstatement or as a condition of probation after reinstatement, one or more of the requirements set forth in Rule 19-752.
Cross reference: For reinstatement, including reinstatement following a suspension for a fixed period, see Rules 19-751 and 19-752.
(f) Responsibility of Affiliated Attorneys. After the effective date of an order that disbars or suspends an attorney or places an attorney on inactive status, no attorney may assist the disbarred or suspended attorney in any activity that constitutes the practice of law or in any activity prohibited under section (a) of this Rule. Upon notice of the order, an attorney associated with the disbarred or suspended attorney as a partner, or member or shareholder of a law firm, shall take reasonable action to ensure compliance with this Rule. The law firm may give written notice to any client of the disbarred or suspended attorney of that attorney's inability to practice law and of its willingness to represent the client with the client's consent.
(g) Non-Admitted Attorney.
(1) Duties of Clerk. On the effective date of an order by the Court of Appeals that disbars or suspends a non-admitted attorney, the Clerk of the Court of Appeals shall place the name of that attorney on a list maintained in that Court of non-admitted attorneys who are excluded from exercising in any manner the privilege of practicing law in the State. The Clerk also shall forward a copy of the order to the clerks of all courts in this State, including the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and to the State Court Administrator and the Board of Law Examiners to be maintained with the docket of out-of-state attorneys who are denied special admission to practice under the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Maryland. The Clerk shall give the notice required by Rule 19-707 (e).
(2) Effect of Order. After the effective date of an order entered under this section, the attorney may not practice law in this State and is disqualified from admission to the practice of law in this State.
(h) Modification of Order. Upon joint stipulation or verified motion filed by the attorney, the Court of Appeals may reduce a period of suspension, waive a requirement or condition imposed by this Rule or by order, or otherwise modify an order entered under this Rule. Relief may be denied without a hearing unless it appears from the stipulation or from clear and convincing evidence submitted with the motion that the respondent is attempting in good faith to comply with the order but that full and exact compliance has become impossible or will result in unreasonable hardship. If necessary to resolve a genuine issue of material fact, the Court may enter an order designating a judge in accordance with Rule 19-722 to hold a hearing in accordance with Rule 19-727.
(i) Sanctions for Violations.
(1) Disciplinary or Remedial Action. Upon receiving information from any source that the attorney has violated section (b) or (c) of this Rule or the order of the Court of Appeals, Bar Counsel shall investigate the matter. In addition to any other remedy, Bar Counsel may file a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action pursuant to Rule 19-721 based on the violation.
(2) Injunction. Upon receiving information from any source that the attorney is violating sections (b) or (c) of this Rule, Bar Counsel may institute or intervene in an action in any court with jurisdiction to enjoin the respondent from further violations.
(3) Contempt. If the attorney violates an order of the Court of Appeals, Bar Counsel may request the initiation of a proceeding for constructive criminal contempt pursuant to Rule 15-205 and may institute a proceeding for constructive civil contempt pursuant to Rule 15-206.