DC Bar Disciplinary Rules

(a) Appointment of Counsel. If an attorney dies, disappears, or is suspended for incapacity or disability, and there is no partner, associate, or other responsible attorney capable of conducting the attorney's affairs, the Court, on motion of the Board, shall appoint a member of the Bar to make an inventory of the attorney's cases, to make appropriate disposition of the attorney's files, to distribute as appropriate any funds in the attorney's escrow accounts, and to ensure continuity of representation for the attorney's clients. The appointed attorney shall file with the Board written acceptance of the appointment.
(b) Initiation of proceeding. Any person may apply to the Board for action to be taken under this section. The Board may also act on direction from the Court, on notice from Disciplinary Counsel or from any other source, or on its own motion.
(c) Establishment of eligibility. When directed by the Chairperson of the Board, the Executive Attorney shall determine that an attorney's affairs require proceeding under this section and shall verify that determination to the Board.
(d) Selection of attorneys for appointment. The Court may appoint any member of the Bar to perform any function under subsection (a) of this section. The Executive Attorney may submit to the Court the names of three attorneys who are willing and able to accept such appointment.
(e) Compensation for appointed attorneys. The level of compensation to be paid under this section shall, in the absence of extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Chairperson of the Board, be the prevailing rate under the District of Columbia Criminal Justice Act. If, after reasonable efforts, the Executive Attorney cannot find three attorneys willing to accept compensation at that rate, the list of names submitted by the Executive Attorney under subsection (d) may include attorneys who will serve at a higher rate deemed appropriate by the Executive Attorney. In such a case, the Executive Attorney shall provide to the Chairperson of the Board a brief description, in writing, of the nature and extent of the search for candidates for appointment.
(f) Duties of appointed attorney. As promptly as possible after receiving an appointment by the Court under subsection (a), the appointed attorney shall review the files, identify open cases, and note those requiring action. The attorney shall provide to the Executive Attorney, in writing, an estimate of the number of hours necessary to complete the inventory and distribution. If the attorney is appointed in the case of an attorney suspended under section 13(a) or 13(c), the appointed attorney shall, to the fullest extent possible, compile and maintain such records as the Court may require under section 14(g).
(g) Budget amendments. If the Executive Attorney reasonably concludes that the estimated payment of fees for services to be performed under this section will exceed the amount available for that purpose in the budget of the Board, the Executive Attorney shall, on approval by the Chairperson of the Board, submit a report to the Board of Governors seeking a budget amendment before authorizing the appointed attorney to proceed.
(h) Contact with clients. The appointed attorney shall consult with clients whose cases are open to discuss the disposition of their cases and to make arrangements to distribute client papers and assets.
(i) Disposition of cases. After consulting each client, the appointed attorney may refer that client's open cases to attorneys willing to handle such matters, may advise the client to consult the Bar for assistance in finding new counsel, or may elect, with the consent of the client, to assume responsibility for one or more of the client's cases. In all other matters the attorney shall return the client's files to the client.
(j) Monthly statements of time and expenses. The appointed attorney shall submit to the Executive Attorney each month a detailed statement of the time spent and expenses incurred in carrying out the order of appointment.
(k) Review of statements and payment. The Executive Attorney shall promptly review the appointed attorney's statement and submit it to the Chairperson of the Board, together with a recommendation for the Chairperson's review and, if appropriate, approval. Upon approval of the statement by the Chairperson of the Board, the Executive Attorney shall authorize payment to the appointed attorney by submitting a copy of the approved statement to the Board of Governors. The appointed attorney shall receive compensation under this section only for services rendered in carrying out the order of appointment. If the appointed attorney undertakes any substantive work on a case, payment for such work shall be made by the client in accordance with a fee agreement between the appointed attorney and the client.
(l) Confidentiality. The appointed attorney shall not disclose any information obtained in a client file without the consent of the client to whom the file relates, except as necessary to carry out the order of appointment.

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.