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Meriting Leniency

Rejecting Bar Counsel's demand for disbarment, the Court found that the lawyer's misguided attempt to respect the last wishes of her client merited leniency in a case which proves that even the best of us make mistakes.

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who knowingly submitted a falsely attested will to the Register of Wills for the purpose of preserving her client's last wishes, was the beneficiary of life insurance proceeds which she applied in accordance with his wishes, placed these assets in trust and did not act for personal gain?

Holding: Without excusing her misconduct in signing as a witness to a Will following the testator's death, the Court recognized that her motivation to preserve the last wishes of her client and selfless acts to carry them out without seeking personal gain justified an indefinite suspension with a right to reapply after six months.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct Rules ("MARPC") 19-303.3 (Candor Toward the Tribunal) and 19-308.4 (Misconduct).

Argued: October 2, 2020

Decided: December 23, 2020

License Reinstated: February 25, 2022

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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.