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Joseph M. Getty

Joseph M. Getty

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. KIRWAN

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who failed to competently and diligently represent a client by failing to pursue the client's claim or take any meaningful action towards pursuing the claim, abandoning the client after failing to communicate over a span of ten months despite the client's numerous attempts, and failed to communicate with the client's new attorney and Bar Counsel's numerous requests for information during its investigation?

Holding: Where the attorney's disciplinary violations do not involve dishonesty, the sanction has often been an indefinite suspension absent a basis for mitigating the sanction. This helps to ensure that this lawyer not return to practice until the Court believes that she is able to comply with the rules. However, the Court declined to set a minimum length for this indefinite suspension because there is nothing in the record that would allow this Court to determine a minimum "sit-out" period.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a)(2)-(3) and (b) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) and (d) (Misconduct).

Citation: Misc. Docket AG No. 52