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(a) Oral Argument. Unless oral argument is waived by the parties, the Court shall set a date for oral argument. Oral argument shall be conducted in accordance with Rule 8-522. An attorney is deemed to have waived oral argument where: (1) the attorney failed to file an answer pursuant to Rule 19-724 and the Judge entered an order of default pursuant to Rule 19-724 (c), (2) the order of default was not vacated, (3) the attorney failed to appear at the hearing held pursuant to Rule 19-727; and (4) the attorney failed to file any exceptions or recommendation for sanction pursuant to Rule 19-728 (b).

(b) Review by Supreme Court.

(1) Conclusions of Law. The Supreme Court shall review de novo the circuit court judge's conclusions of law.

(2) Findings of Fact.

(A) If No Exceptions are Filed. If no exceptions are filed, the Court may treat the findings of fact as established.

(B) If Exceptions are Filed. If exceptions are filed, the Supreme Court shall determine whether the findings of fact have been proved by the requisite standard of proof set out in Rule 19-727 (c). The Court may confine its review to the findings of fact challenged by the exceptions. The Court shall give due regard to the opportunity of the hearing judge to assess the credibility of witnesses.

(c) Disposition.

(1) Generally. The Supreme Court may order (A) disbarment, (B) suspension, (C) probation under specified terms and conditions, (D) a reprimand, (E) transfer to disability inactive status, (F) dismissal of the disciplinary or remedial action, or (G) a remand for further proceedings.

(2) If Suspension Ordered.

(A) The Court may order a suspension for a fixed period of time or indefinitely. An order for indefinite suspension may provide that the attorney may not seek reinstatement until the expiration of a specified period and may include preset conditions for reinstatement.

(B) Upon a request by Bar Counsel or the attorney or on its own initiative and for good cause, the Court may stay execution of a suspension and place the attorney on probation upon terms and conditions the Court finds appropriate, which may include any terms or conditions permitted in a Conditional Diversion Agreement. The Order staying execution of a suspension may include provisions for monitoring compliance with the terms and conditions and for prompt reporting to Bar Counsel, the attorney, and the Court of any material noncompliance.

(C) Upon Bar Counsel's receipt of a report of material non-compliance, Bar Counsel shall petition the Court to request that the Court take such action as it finds appropriate, which may include an immediate lifting of the probation and stay of execution and a referral of the matter to a circuit court judge to conduct an evidentiary hearing and file with the Supreme Court the judge's findings of fact and conclusions of law relating to the alleged non-compliance.

(D) In the event of such a referral, the judge shall send a copy of the judge's findings and conclusions to Bar Counsel and the attorney. Within 30 days after the sending of such notice, Bar Counsel, the Commission, and the attorney may file exceptions with the Supreme Court. The excepting party shall serve the exceptions on the other parties.

(E) If no exceptions are timely filed, the Court may treat the findings of fact as established. If exceptions are timely filed, the Court shall proceed in accordance with Rule 19-740 (b)(2)(B). The Court may enter any further Order it finds appropriate.

(d) Decision. The decision of the Supreme Court is final. The decision shall be evidenced by an order which the clerk shall certify under the seal of the Court. The order may be accompanied by an opinion.

(e) Effective Date of Order. Unless otherwise stated in the order, an order providing for the disbarment, suspension, or reprimand of an attorney or the transfer of an attorney to disability inactive status shall take effect upon its filing with the Clerk of the Court.

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.