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Lawyers Helping Lawyers Avoid the Perils of Professional Discipline

Posts on Managing the Attorney-Client Relationship to Avoid Complaints and Ethical Misconduct

Selling Out

Q. After 40 years as a general practitioner, I'm tired of going to court. So I'd like to sell my litigation cases and scale back to transactional work only. How can I sell out?

Fortunate Errors

Q. Following an audit in which we acknowledged $48,000 in excess tax liability, the IRS provided a report which miscalculated my client's income and proposed an adjustment of only $13,000. Must I call this error to the auditor's attention?

Leaving Legal Advice by Text

Q. My criminal defense client texted me that he really wants to testify. He's got loads of priors, and the prosecutor will eat him alive. How can I get my point across so that he stays far away from the witness stand?

A Loan to Bemoan

Q. Disabled after her accident, my client can't pay her mortgage, her medical bills, or even her utility bill. Desperate to survive, she wants to settle her case for a fraction of its value. May I advance her living expenses until after we resolve the case?​

'Tis the Season ...

Q. My tech client had a huge gift basket delivered to me, with an envelope containing first class tickets for a luxury vacation in Spain. May I accept these?

Giving Thanks

Q. We are thankful for the many satisfied clients who have recommended us to their friends, coworkers and relatives. To encourage more referrals, may we send them tokens of our appreciation?​

Fighting Fair at Trial

​​Q. I know it's hearsay, but a week after the accident, police interviewed a bystander who corroborated my client's account and blamed the other driver. If I can't find the witness, may I call the officer to repeat this statement?

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?

Buying Out of a Grievance

Q. My client has threatened me with a lawsuit and an ethics complaint unless I refund her legal fees. Should I pay her to release these claims?

"It's All Greek to Me!"

Q. My client from Athens doesn't speak English. I don't speak Greek. But her son speaks both languages and, until recently, served as my "liaison." Now, they're no longer on speaking terms, and I feel "lost in translation." What should I do now?

Anti-Social Media

Q. My injured client just tweeted photos of his hiking the Appalachian Trail. To prevent the defense from finding them, may we delete the tweet?

Online Review Rebuttals

Q. My online reputation is everything to me. So how should I respond to a scathing review that called me an "awful" and "dishonest lawyer" who cares more about money than people?

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?

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?

Client, Liar, You're Fired!

Q. Denying that she sped up to beat a red light, my injured client swore that she had lots of time to get to work at 8:00 a.m. Told that the police timed the crash at 8:32 a.m., she then changed her start time to 9. May I fire her for lying?

Ways to Leave Your Law Firm

Q. I gave ten years of my life to this firm. 
But I think I've reached my limit on the fees that I can earn. 
I should fly solo, yet there's much that I must learn. 
What are the proper ways to leave my law firm?

Challenging the Law

Q. It's a loser under current case law, but my client still wants me to seek relief that would require a major reversal of precedent. If she'll agree to a generous retainer and hourly fees, should I take it?

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?

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?

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?

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