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Profiled in Who's Who in America and in A.M. Best's Directory of Recommended Insurance Attorneys, this former law professor has devoted a significant portion of his practice to the defense of his fellow attorneys in professional malpractice and disciplinary matters. Combined with significant trial and appellate experience in state and federal courts, Mr. Kramer's law firm management experience gives him an appreciation for the pressures of law practice and the ethical issues confronting attorneys on a daily basis. Full Profile

Phishing for Lawyers

Q. Representing a Korean supplier of silicone for electronics, I demanded $90,000 from a U.S. company that failed to pay for these materials and immediately received a $90,000 cashier's check. My client wants me to wire its net recovery from my trust account to its Canadian bank. Any need to wait?

Ten Commandments of Trust

​​Q. As the new managing partner of our firm, I have no idea how to manage our trust account. What must I do to comply with the rules?

Deal Without Appeal

Q. I took a complicated contingency case to trial and lost. Now my client wants me to appeal the verdict for free. Must I?

The Unsettled Client

Q. I settled a weak case for $30,000, and got my client's medical bills reduced to $15,000. But my client is angry that he's "netting a measly $5,000," won't let me pay his doctors, and objects to my one-third fee. What should I do?

Fee Splitting

Q. I've always heard that referral fees are forbidden. But I know lawyers who routinely refer cases for a share of the profit, even if they're not licensed where the cases are pending. Isn't this unethical?

Crossing the Border

Q. Injured on a Delaware highway, my old client spent the night in a Dover hospital, returned to Maryland for more treatment, and called me for representation. I'm not licensed in Delaware. May I take her case?

Legal Marketing Secrets

Q. As a high-volume accident lawyer, I've been approached by a marketing firm with "proprietary tools" that can send me at least a dozen cases per month. May I use this service?

Profiting from Retainers

​​Q. Unhappy with my client's engineering work, a huge contractor ignored my demand for payment of a $150,000 bill. It's a small sum to the contractor, but a lot of money for my client to lose. With more documents than cash on hand, my client wants to sue and fight "on principle." How should I engineer this?

Holding Files for Ransom

Q. After ten months of discovery in a complex civil case, my client fired me for "taking too long" and refused to pay her bill. Now, her new lawyer has asked me for the file. May I keep it until I get paid?

Binding Clients to Arbitration

Q. After lengthy litigation, we recently collected a large outstanding bill from a client who filed a frivolous counterclaim against us for malpractice. To prevent this from happening again, may we require binding arbitration in future retainer agreements?

The Dreaded Overdraft

Q. I'm ashamed to admit that I don't know how to balance my own checkbook. Knowing that banks are reporting overdrafts to the grievance board, I'm terrified of bouncing a check on my trust account. May I keep some extra money in the account just to be safe?

The Power of "No"

Q. After two other lawyers let her down, a sexual harassment victim approached me to fight for fair compensation. I haven't done these cases before, but she thinks the case is worth millions in light of the #MeToo movement. Should I take the case?

Hoarding Closed Client Files

Q. In 25 years of practice, I've never thrown anything away. But I'm moving to a smaller office without much storage space. May I toss my closed client files?

So you committed malpractice ...

Q. I'm not inclined to make excuses. But things have been so hectic in my office that I let a nice accident case slip through the cracks and failed to file suit by the limitations deadline. My head is spinning. What should I do now?

Encryption Ethics

Q. After emailing several documents to opposing counsel, she slammed me for failing to encrypt the message and exposing records on her client's medical history. Must I encrypt these emails?

Malware Malpractice

Q. Using ransomware, hackers recently locked our firm's data and demanded bitcoins to release it. It cost us around $10,000 to get our data back. But if our clients find out, we'll lose a lot more. Must we tell them?

What's In Your Wallet?

​Q. I may not have enough business to justify a credit card merchant account. But apps like Paypal and Venmo let my clients send fees and retainers online. Are such payments allowed?

April Fool's for Lawyers

Q. To help me celebrate April Fool's Day, the local sheriff will have my law partner detained as he walks into court today. When he asks why, the sheriff will say he's being arrested for the prank he pulled on me last year. Pretty hilarious, huh?

Poor Prognosis for Juris Doctor

Q. Most injury lawyers have difficulty getting treating physicians on the phone. But I just say I'm a "doctor" and their receptionists put me right through. Is that the right prescription?

Law-Man on the Totem Pole

Q. Before leaving, our Chief Legal Officer reported directly to our CEO. Rather than keep counsel in upper management, may we eliminate the position and have our next lawyer report to a manager who works beneath our COO?

Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.

410.581.0070

By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.
 

NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
OR THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE D.C. BAR