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Lawyers Helping Lawyers Avoid the Perils of Professional Discipline

Why We're Essential

Q. Exempting us from stay-at-home orders designed to keep people healthy, some states let lawyers go to the office to provide "essential" services. Are we really essential or are they just trying to kill us?

A. If we want to maintain a healthy society, lawyers are more "essential" than ever.

Facing a global pandemic, states must act decisively to save the lives of their citizens. Praised for swift action, popular governors have restricted our freedom in the name of public safety. Breaking from "business as usual," these leaders have shut down many businesses and, in the process, have disrupted the very lives they are credited with saving.

These may be necessary evils. Yet they are evils nonetheless.

In times of chaos, rulers claiming a popular mandate to wield extraordinary power are often prone to abuse it. Without the delay of due process, they may eradicate a lethal plague with great efficiency. But they may also extinguish the checks and balances on which our republic endures.

Unlike those who place health above democracy, good lawyers argue for both. Unwilling to sacrifice the overall health of our society, we fight to preserve rights which powerful leaders may disregard. When politicians devise plans to preserve human life, we work to protect Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All persons may be created equal. Yet few provide services which are as essential to society as those provided by lawyers. Shutting down movies, bowling alleys and bars may impair the happiness of some, but shutting down members of the Bar would ignore the interests of all.

To ignore the "essential" value of our services is to ignore the rights of those we represent. This has already occurred in states that exempt law enforcement as an essential service, but fail to label lawyers the same way. More than mere semantics, their "shelter-in-place" orders would let police and prosecutors charge us with impunity while putting defense counsel on home detention. This distinction alone may deprive us of our liberty and obstruct our right to fight for our freedom.

Without lawyers, who would help us navigate the maze of new regulations implemented to combat this invisible hazard? Who would advise businesses on the government aid available to keep their companies afloat, negotiate commercial rent abatements, or seek protection from creditors in bankruptcy?

As nursing homes become death traps for the elderly, elder lawyers advise their loved ones on other options for care. And, conversely, those who fear for their lives turn to lawyers with increased urgency to draft estate plans, advanced health care directives, and other key instruments.

With a virus that has disrupted every facet of life, lawyers play a vital role in restoring it to order. Upholding the rule of law, we give crucial guidance in a rapidly-changing and uncertain world.

If we prefer the unchecked power of paternalistic leaders, we would do well to silence these lawyers and confine them to their homes. Or, as one Shakespearean anarchist proposed, "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

As "juris doctors," we may not provide the life-sustaining treatment that medical doctors do. But without us, we will not maintain a truly healthy society.

Nothing could be more essential.

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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.


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.