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(a) Approval and Issuance.

(1) The Chair of the Commission may authorize Bar Counsel to issue a subpoena to (A) compel the person to whom it is directed to attend, give testimony, and produce designated documents, electronically stored information, or other tangible things at a time and place specified in the subpoena, or (B) to compel the attorney to submit to a mental or physical examination by a suitably licensed or certified examiner.

(2) The Chair of the Commission may authorize a subpoena if the Chair finds that (A) the subpoena is necessary to and in furtherance of an investigation being conducted by Bar Counsel pursuant to Rule 19-711, 19-735, 19-751, or 19-752 or (B) the subpoena has been requested by a disciplinary authority of another jurisdiction pursuant to the law of that jurisdiction for use in a disciplinary or remedial proceeding in that jurisdiction to determine alleged professional misconduct or incapacity of an attorney subject to the jurisdiction of that disciplinary authority.

(3) Upon approval, Bar Counsel may issue the subpoena.

(b) Contents.

(1) A subpoena shall comply with the requirements of Rule 2-510 (c), except that to the extent practicable, a subpoena shall not identify the attorney under investigation. A subpoena to compel attendance of a witness shall include or be accompanied by a notice that the witness (1) has the right to consult with an attorney with respect to the assertion of a privilege or any other matter pertaining to the subpoena and (2) may file a motion for judicial relief under Rule 2-510.

(2) A subpoena to compel the attorney to submit to a mental or physical examination shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination and the person or persons by whom it is to be made.

(c) Service.

(1) Generally. A subpoena shall be served in accordance with Rule 2-510 (d). Promptly after service of a subpoena on a person other than the attorney under investigation and in addition to giving any other notice required by law, Bar Counsel shall serve a copy of the subpoena on the attorney under investigation.

(2) Alternative Service. If after reasonable efforts the attorney cannot be served personally, service may be made on the attorney by sending by e-mail to all e-mail addresses of record maintained by the attorney with the Attorney Information System in accordance with Rule 19-802.

(d) Recording of Statements. All testimony by the subpoenaed witness shall be under oath and shall be contemporaneously recorded stenographically or by electronic audio or audio-video recording.

(e) Objection. The person served with the subpoena or the attorney under investigation may file a motion in the circuit court for the county in which the subpoena was served for any order permitted by Rule 2-510 (e). The motion shall be filed promptly and, whenever practicable, at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance.

(f) Enforcement.

(1) Order Enforcing Compliance.

(A) If (i) the person served with a subpoena fails to file a timely motion under section (e) or the court denies such a motion, and (ii) the person fails to comply with the subpoena, Bar Counsel may file a motion in the circuit court for the county in which the subpoena was served for an order to enforce compliance with the subpoena.

(B) Papers filed in the circuit court pursuant to this subsection shall be sealed upon filing and shall be open to inspection only by order of the court. A hearing before the court shall be on the record and shall be conducted outside of the presence of all individuals other than Bar Counsel, the attorney, the judge, and those individuals whose presence the court deems necessary. Any transcript or recording of the proceedings shall be sealed.

(2) Petition for Contempt. If a person willfully fails to comply with an order issued under subsection (f)(1), Bar Counsel may file a petition for contempt pursuant to Rule 15-206 or for a body attachment pursuant to Rule 2-510 (j).

(3) Other Sanctions. If the person is the attorney who is the subject of the investigation, Bar Counsel may, in addition, (A) with the approval of the Chair of the Commission, file with the Supreme Court a petition to suspend the attorney from practicing law pending compliance with the subpoena, and (B) file a statement of charges pursuant to Rule 19-718 for violation of Rule 19-308.1. The attorney may file a response to a petition for suspension within 15 days after service of the petition. The Court may decide the issue on the papers filed or shall hold an expedited hearing on the petition.

(g) Confidentiality. Any paper filed in the circuit court with respect to a subpoena shall be sealed upon filing and shall be open to inspection only by order of the court. A hearing before the court on any motion shall be on the record and shall be conducted out of the presence of all individuals other than Bar Counsel, the attorney, and those individuals whose presence the court deems necessary.

(h) Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action.

(1) Generally. If the circuit court makes a finding of contempt pursuant to Rule 15-206, Bar Counsel, with the approval of the Chair of the Commission, may file a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action in the Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 19-721 (a)(1). A certified copy of the order of contempt shall be attached to the Petition, and a copy of the Petition and order shall be served on the attorney in accordance with Rule 19-723.

(2) Show Cause Order. When a petition and certified copy of an order of contempt have been filed, the Supreme Court shall order that the attorney, within 15 days from the date of the order, show cause in writing why the attorney should not be suspended immediately from the practice of law until the further order of the Supreme Court.

(3) Action by the Supreme Court. Upon consideration of the petition and any answer to the order to show cause, the Supreme Court may enter an order (A) immediately suspending the attorney from the practice of law, (B) designating a judge pursuant to Rule 19-722 to hold a hearing in accordance with Rule 19-727, or (C) containing any other appropriate provisions. The provisions of Rules 19-741 and 19-743 apply to an order under this section that suspends an attorney.

(4) Presumptive Effect of Order of Contempt. A finding of contempt is presumptive evidence that the attorney is in contempt of court, but the introduction of such evidence does not preclude Bar Counsel or the attorney from introducing additional evidence or otherwise showing cause why no suspension should be imposed.

(5) Termination of Suspension. On notification by Bar Counsel that the attorney has purged the contempt, the Supreme Court shall order the attorney reinstated to the practice of law, unless other grounds exist for the suspension to remain in effect.

(6) Other Disciplinary Proceedings. Proceedings under this Rule shall not preclude the use of the facts underlying the order of contempt when relevant to a pending or subsequent disciplinary proceeding against the attorney.

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.