Skip to main content

The Lawyer's Lawyer

Lawyers Helping Lawyers Avoid the Perils of Professional Discipline

Reforming Attorney Discipline

Testifying before the Maryland Court of Appeals, Judge Alan Wilner and Irwin Kramer debate the merits of proposals to reform the attorney disciplinary process.

Issue: Should the Court reform the disciplinary process to enhance its fairness to the attorneys charged and to more proactively address the plight of lawyers in crisis?

Testimony: As Chairman of the Maryland Rules Committee, Judge Wilner presented recommendations which would revise certain procedural rules in more modest ways. An architect of the current system, this jurist argued that the system is not "broken," and -- citing statistics which show that most complaints are resolved without sanction -- is exceedingly fair to attorneys accused of professional misconduct. By contrast, Irwin Kramer argued that the Court can do much more to provide a more level playing field and to better address the concerns of a profession with a higher incidence of addiction, mental illness and suicide than society at large.

Rejecting his proposals for more organized alternatives to discipline in appropriate cases, Judge Wilner defended the status quo. Observing that "the current rules have been in effect for 20 years," Judge Wilner believed that "it says something that given the caseload, given all the attorneys that have been before Bar Counsel and this Court, only one lawyer, Mr. Kramer ... filed a complaint about it." Finding Mr. Kramer's four-pronged proposal to be unnecessary and misguided, the jurist took particular issue with recommendations for remedial education and for a "community service" component that might address the needs of the underrepresented as part of the lawyer's rehabilitation plan: "We don't need a rule on community service any more than a rule on anger management or marriage counseling."

With minor changes, the Court adopted Judge Wilner's recommendations, which largely preserves the 20-year old system and leaves Bar Counsel in charge of the rehabilitation of those she prosecutes.

Meeting Date: June 14, 2021

Fee Splitting
Buying Out of a Grievance

Related Posts

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.