(a) Mentally disabled attorneys. When an attorney has been judicially declared to be mentally incompetent or has been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital as an inpatient, the Court, upon proper proof of that fact, shall enter an order suspending that attorney from the practice of law for an indefinite period until further order of the Court. The suspension shall be effective immediately. A copy of the order shall be served upon the attorney, the attorney's guardian, and the director of the mental hospital, if any, in such manner as the Court may direct. If at any time thereafter the attorney is judicially declared to be competent or discharged from inpatient status in the mental hospital, the Court may dispense with further evidence that the disability has ended and may direct the attorney's reinstatement to the practice of law upon such terms as it deems appropriate.
(b) Application for medical examination. If, at any time prior to its final disposition of a disciplinary proceeding, the Board has good cause to believe that the mental or physical condition of the attorney is relevant to the subject matter of the complaint and is a factor which should be considered in the pending proceeding, the Board shall direct Disciplinary Counsel to apply to the Court for an order requiring the attorney to submit to an appropriate examination. The application shall be by petition, with notice to the attorney, and shall be accompanied by a statement from Disciplinary Counsel setting forth in detail the reasons for the application and the relevance of the examination to the pending proceeding.
(c) Attorneys who may be incapacitated. If the Board has reason to believe that an attorney is incapacitated from continuing to practice law because of mental infirmity or illness or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, the Board may petition the Court to determine whether the attorney is so incapacitated. Upon the filing of the Board's petition, the Court may take or direct such action as it deems appropriate, including the examination of the attorney by such qualified medical expert or experts as it shall designate. If the Court concludes that the attorney is incapacitated from continuing to practice law, it shall enter an order suspending the attorney on the ground of such disability for an indefinite period, effective immediately and until further order of the Court, and any pending disciplinary proceeding against the attorney shall be held in abeyance. In a case of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, the Court alternatively may consider the possibility of probationary conditions. The Court may provide for such notice to the attorney of proceedings in the matter as it deems appropriate and may appoint counsel to represent the attorney if it determines that the attorney is without adequate representation.
(d) Burden of proof. In a proceeding under this section seeking an order of suspension, the burden of proof shall be upon the Board. In a proceeding under this section seeking an order terminating a suspension, the burden of proof shall be upon the suspended attorney.
(e) Claim of disability by attorney. If, in the course of a disciplinary proceeding, the attorney claims to be suffering from a disability because of mental or physical illness or infirmity, or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, which makes it impossible for the attorney to present an adequate defense, the Court shall enter an order immediately suspending the attorney from the practice of law until a determination is made of the attorney's capacity to practice law in a proceeding under subsection (c) of this section.
(f) Action by the Court when attorney is not incapacitated. If, in the course of a proceeding under this section or a disciplinary proceeding, the Court determines that the attorney is not incapacitated from practicing law, it shall take such action as it deems appropriate, including the entry of an order directing the resumption of the disciplinary proceeding against the attorney.
(g) Reinstatement of incapacitated attorney. An attorney suspended under this section may apply for reinstatement once a year, or at such shorter intervals as the Court may direct in its order of suspension or any modification thereof. Upon the filing of such application, the Court may take or direct such action as it deems appropriate, including the examination of the attorney by such qualified medical experts as the Court shall designate. In its discretion, the Court may direct that the expense of such an examination shall be paid by the attorney, and that evidence be presented establishing proof of the attorney's competence and learning in the law, which may include certification by the bar examiners of the attorney's successful completion of an examination for admission to practice. An application for reinstatement under this subsection shall be granted by the Court upon a showing by the attorney, by clear and convincing evidence, that the disability has ended and that the attorney is fit to resume the practice of law.
(h) Waiver of doctor-patient privilege. The filing of an application for reinstatement under subsection (g) of this section shall constitute a waiver of any doctor-patient privilege with respect to any treatment of the attorney during the period of disability. The attorney shall disclose the name and address of every physician by whom, and every hospital in which, the attorney has been examined or treated since the suspension and shall furnish to the Court written consent to each to divulge such information and records as may be required by Court-appointed medical experts.

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.

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By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and  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