DC Bar Disciplinary Rules

(a) Types of discipline. Any of the following sanctions may be imposed on an attorney for a disciplinary violation:

(1) Disbarment;
(2) Suspension for an appropriate fixed period of time not to exceed three years. Any order of suspension may include a requirement that the attorney furnish proof of rehabilitation as a condition of reinstatement. In the absence of such a requirement, the attorney may resume practice at the end of the period of suspension;
(3) Censure;
(4) Reprimand;
(5) Informal admonition;
(6) Revocation or suspension of a license to practice as a Special Legal Consultant; or
(7) Probation for not more than three years. Probation may be imposed in lieu of or in addition to any other disciplinary sanction. Any conditions of probation shall be stated in writing in the order imposing probation. The order shall also state whether, and to what extent, the attorney shall be required to notify clients of the probation. The Board by rule shall establish procedures for the supervision of probation. Violation of any condition of probation shall make the attorney subject to revocation of probation and the imposition of any other disciplinary sanction listed in this subsection, but only to the extent stated in the order imposing probation.

(b) Conditions imposed with discipline. When imposing discipline, the Court or the Board may require an attorney to make restitution either to persons financially injured by the attorney's conduct or to the Clients' Security Trust Fund (see Rule XII), or both, as a condition of probation or of reinstatement. The Court or the Board may also impose any other reasonable condition, including a requirement that the attorney take and pass a professional responsibility examination as a condition of probation or of reinstatement.
(c) Temporary suspension or probation.

(1) On petition of the Board authorized by its Chairperson or Vice Chairperson, supported by an affidavit showing that an attorney appears to pose a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or has failed to respond to an order of the Board in a matter where Disciplinary Counsel's investigation involves allegations of serious misconduct, the Court may issue an order, with such notice as the Court may prescribe, temporarily suspending the attorney or imposing temporary conditions of probation on the attorney, or both. "Serious misconduct" for this purpose means fraud, dishonesty, misappropriation, commingling, overdraft of trust accounts, criminal conduct other than criminal contempt, or instances of neglect that establish a pattern of misconduct in the pending investigation.

Any order of temporary suspension or probation which restricts the attorney's maintenance or use of a trust account shall, when served on any bank maintaining an account against which the attorney may make withdrawals, serve as an injunction barring the bank from making further payment from the account on any obligation except in accordance with restrictions imposed by the Court. An order of temporary suspension issued under this subsection shall preclude the attorney from accepting any new cases or other legal matters, but shall not preclude the attorney from continuing to represent existing clients during the thirty-day period after issuance of the order;however, any fees tendered to the attorney during that thirty-day period or at any time thereafter while the temporary suspension is in effect shall be deposited in a trust account, from which withdrawals may be made only as directed by the Court. The order of temporary suspension or probation for failure to respond to a Board order shall not disclose information about the substance of the complaint against the attorney.

(2) Where issues of fact appear to be presented by a petition of the Board under this section, or by any response of the attorney thereto, the Court may appoint a special master to preside at a hearing at which evidence will be presented concerning the petition. The master shall prepare a report summarizing the evidence presented and make recommended findings of fact which, together with the record, shall be filed with the Court within fifteen days of the Court's order of appointment.

(d) Dissolution or amendment of orders of temporary suspension or probation. An attorney temporarily suspended or placed on probation for failure to file a response to a Board order pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall be reinstated and the temporary suspension or probation dissolved when (1) Disciplinary Counsel notifies the Court that the attorney has responded to the Board's order or (2) the Court determines that an adequate response has been filed by the attorney.

An attorney temporarily suspended or placed on probation on the ground that the attorney appears to pose a substantial threat of serious harm to the public may, for good cause, request dissolution or amendment of the temporary order by petition filed with the Court, which shall also be served on the Board and on Disciplinary Counsel. A petition for dissolution shall be set for immediate hearing before the Board or a panel of at least three of its members designated by its Chairperson or, in the Chairperson's absence, by the Vice Chairperson. The Board or its designated panel shall hear the petition forthwith and submit its report and recommendation to the Court with the utmost speed consistent with fairness. Upon receipt of the report, the Court shall consider the petition promptly, with or without a hearing as the Court may elect, and shall enter an appropriate order.

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.