The Lawyer's Lawyer
Suspending an "Extreme" Sanction
Finding Bar Counsel's call for an indefinite suspension too "extreme," the Court imposed a more modest moratorium on a lawyer with an unblemished record in close to 50 years of practice.
Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney whose violations arose from his delegation of significant responsibilities in personal injury matters to an independent paralegal firm; his lack of supervision over that paralegal firm and his clients' cases; his sharing of fees with that firm; and his failure to properly manage his attorney trust account?
Holding: Although the lawyer to maintain the proper records and reconciliations, failed to promptly remove earned attorney's fees from his trust account, failed to properly supervise his paralegal staff, and split fees with a nonlawyer, the lack of dishonesty or self-interest in this case helped to persuade the Court to suspend him for six months and one day, on the condition that he engage a practice monitor for three months after reinstatement.
Alleged Violations: Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct Rules ("MARPC")1.4, 1.15, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, and 8.4, along with Maryland Rules 19-407 and 19-408.
Argued: February 1, 2021
Decided: April 26, 2021