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(a) Duties of Clerk. Upon the filing of an order of disbarment or suspension, or order accepting resignation under Rule 19-735, the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall (1) notify the attorney by first-class mail and by e-mail to the attorney at each e-mail address for the attorney listed in AIS and (2) comply with Rule 19-761.

(b) Effect of Order. Except as provided in section (c) of this Rule, after the effective date of an order of disbarment or suspension, or an order accepting resignation, an attorney may not:

(1) practice law or offer to practice law in this State, either directly or through any other person;

(2) undertake any new representation of existing clients or any representation of new clients;

(3) solicit or procure any legal business or retainer for an attorney, whether or not for personal gain;

(4) share in any fees for legal services performed by another attorney, but may be compensated for the reasonable value of services rendered prior to the effective date of the order;

(5) use any business card, sign, advertisement, social networking media, website, or other form of communication suggesting that the attorney is entitled to practice law or maintain, alone or with another, an office for the practice of law; or

(6) except for the limited purpose of complying with the requirements of section (c) of this Rule:

(A) occupy, share, or use office space in which an attorney practices law unless under circumstances clearly indicating to clients, prospective clients, and individuals who may visit the office that the attorney is not an attorney and is not permitted to practice law; or

(B) use any stationery, bank account, checks, or labels on which the attorney's name appears as an attorney or in connection with any office for the practice of law.

(7) engage in any law-related activities while employed or retained by an attorney, except as permitted by Rule 19-305.3 (d).

(c) Affirmative Duties of Attorney. Unless the Court orders otherwise, an attorney who has been disbarred or suspended shall take the following actions:

(1) Requirements to be Completed Within 15 Days. Within 15 days after the effective date of the order, the attorney shall:

(A) conclude all client matters that can be concluded within that period;

(B) supply to Bar Counsel or an attorney designated by Bar Counsel pursuant to section (e) of this Rule (i) the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all of the attorney's current clients and (ii) identify, by client name, tribunal, and docket reference, all client matters pending in any court or other tribunal or agency; and

(C) mail a letter giving notice of the order and of the effective date of the attorney's disbarment or suspension to (i) all of the attorney's current clients, (ii) counsel for each party and any self-represented party in all pending actions, proceedings, negotiations, or transactions, and (iii) each attorney with whom the attorney is associated in the practice of law.

(2) Requirements to be Completed Promptly and Within 30 Days. As soon as practicable but within 30 days after the effective date of the order, the attorney shall:

(A) take or cause to be taken, without charging any additional fee, any action immediately necessary to protect the interests of current clients which, as a practical matter, cannot otherwise be protected;

(B) inform current clients, in writing, that the client may obtain another attorney, and that it may be necessary for the client to obtain another attorney depending upon the status of the client's case or legal matter.

(C) deliver to clients with pending matters all papers and other property to which the clients are entitled or notify the clients and any co-counsel of a suitable time and place to obtain the papers and property and call attention to any urgent need to obtain them;

(D) notify the disciplinary authority in each jurisdiction in which the attorney is admitted to practice of the disciplinary sanction imposed by the Supreme Court; and

(E) unless the attorney is suspended for a fixed period of time not exceeding one year, request the publisher of each telephone directory or law listing to remove each listing or reference that suggests that the attorney is eligible to practice law; request the attorney's name be removed from the law firm's website and letterhead; and remove any reference that the attorney is eligible to practice law from any website or social networking profile, regardless of whether the website or profile is that of the attorney individually or of a law firm or other group or entity.

(3) Requirements to be Completed Within 30 Days. Within 30 days after the effective date of the order, the attorney shall:

(A) withdraw from all client matters;

(B) in all cases in which the attorney is then acting, or thereafter attempts to act, in any specified fiduciary capacity, including, but not limited to, power of attorney, personal representative, trustee, administrator, guardian, receiver or conservator, promptly notify in writing all (1) co-fiduciaries, (2) beneficiaries, and (3) courts out of which the matter arose, of the attorney's disbarment, suspension, or transfer to disability inactive status. Such notice shall clearly state the name of the matter, any caption and docket number, and, if applicable, the name and date of death or current residence of the decedent, settlor, individual or entity with respect to whose assets the attorney is acting as a fiduciary; and

(C) file with Bar Counsel an affidavit that states or is accompanied by:

(i) the manner and extent to which the attorney has complied with the order and this Rule;

(ii) all actions taken by the attorney pursuant to subsection (c)(2)(A) and (B) of this Rule;

(iii) the names of all State and Federal jurisdictions in which and administrative agencies before which the attorney has been admitted to practice;

(iv) the residence and other addresses of the attorney to which future communications may be directed;

(v) the name and address of each insurer that provided malpractice insurance coverage to the attorney during the past five years, the policy number of each policy, and the inclusive dates of coverage;

(vi) a copy of each letter sent pursuant to subsection (c)(2)(B) of this Rule; and

(vii) a copy of each notice sent pursuant to subsection (c)(3)(B) of this Rule.

(d) Duties of Bar Counsel. Bar Counsel shall enforce the order and the provisions of this Rule. Bar Counsel may designate an attorney to monitor compliance by the disbarred or suspended attorney and to receive the lists and copies of letters required by subsections (c)(1)(B) and (c)(2)(B) of this Rule.

(e) Conditions on Reinstatement.

(1) Time for Application. In an order that suspends an attorney for an indefinite period, the Court may permit the attorney to apply for reinstatement after a minimum period of time specified in the Order.

(2) Other Conditions to or Upon Reinstatement. In an order of suspension for an indefinite or fixed period entered under this Rule, the Court may require, as a condition precedent to reinstatement or as a condition of probation after reinstatement, one or more of the requirements set forth in Rule 19-752.

(f) Responsibility of Affiliated Attorneys. After the effective date of an order that disbars or suspends an attorney or places an attorney on inactive status, no attorney may assist the disbarred or suspended attorney in any activity that constitutes the practice of law or in any activity prohibited under section (a) of this Rule. Upon notice of the order, an attorney associated with the disbarred or suspended attorney as a partner, or member or shareholder of a law firm, shall take reasonable action to ensure compliance with this Rule. The law firm may give written notice to any client of the disbarred or suspended attorney of that attorney's inability to practice law and of its willingness to represent the client with the client's consent.

(g) Non-Admitted Attorney.

(1) Duties of Clerk. On the effective date of an order by the Supreme Court that disbars or suspends a non-admitted attorney, the Clerk of the Supreme Court shall place the name of that attorney on a list maintained in that Court of non-admitted attorneys who are excluded from exercising in any manner the privilege of practicing law in the State. The Clerk also shall forward a copy of the order to the clerks of all courts in this State, including the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, the U.S. Supreme Court for the 4th Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court, and to the State Court Administrator and the Board of Law Examiners to be maintained with the docket of out-of-state attorneys who are denied special admission to practice under the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Maryland. The Clerk shall give the notice required by Rule 19-707 (e).

(2) Effect of Order. After the effective date of an order entered under this section, the attorney may not practice law in this State and is disqualified from admission to the practice of law in this State.

(h) Modification of Order. Upon joint stipulation or verified motion filed by the attorney, the Supreme Court may reduce a period of suspension, waive a requirement or condition imposed by this Rule or by order, or otherwise modify an order entered under this Rule. Relief may be denied without a hearing unless it appears from the stipulation or from clear and convincing evidence submitted with the motion that the respondent is attempting in good faith to comply with the order but that full and exact compliance has become impossible or will result in unreasonable hardship. If necessary to resolve a genuine issue of material fact, the Court may enter an order designating a judge in accordance with Rule 19-722 to hold a hearing in accordance with Rule 19-727.

(i) Sanctions for Violations.

(1) Disciplinary or Remedial Action. Upon receiving information from any source that the attorney has violated section (b) or (c) of this Rule or the order of the Supreme Court, Bar Counsel shall investigate the matter. In addition to any other remedy, Bar Counsel may file a Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action pursuant to Rule 19-721 based on the violation.

(2) Injunction. Upon receiving information from any source that the attorney is violating sections (b) or (c) of this Rule, Bar Counsel may institute or intervene in an action in any court with jurisdiction to enjoin the respondent from further violations.

(3) Contempt. If the attorney violates an order of the Supreme Court, Bar Counsel may request the initiation of a proceeding for constructive criminal contempt pursuant to Rule 15-205 and may institute a proceeding for constructive civil contempt pursuant to Rule 15-206.

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.