About the Author

Robert N. McDonald

Robert N. McDonald

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. GAGE-COHEN

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who accepts a retainer to perform legal work, abandons the client without doing so, fails to return the unearned fee, and fails to cooperate with the ensuing disciplinary investigation?

Holding: Because such actions demonstrate a lack of competence and diligence, reflect a failure to communicate with the client, involve an improper termination of the attorney-client relationship, misappropriate client funds, and are prejudicial to the administration of justice, disbarment is the appropriate sanction.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (competence), 1.2(a) (scope of representation and allocation of authority between client and lawyer), 1.3 (diligence), 1.4 (communication), 1.5(a) (fees), 1.15 (safekeeping property), 1.16(a) and (d) (declining or terminating representation), 8.1(b) (bar admission and disciplinary matters), and 8.4(a), (c), and (d) (misconduct); Maryland Rules 16-604 (trust account – required deposits), 16-606.1 (trust account recordkeeping), and 16-609 (a) (prohibited transactions); and Maryland Code, Business Occupations and Professions Article § 10-306 (misuse of trust money).

Citation: Misc. Docket AG No. 25, September Term 2013

  • Decided on .
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.

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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.
 

NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND
OR THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE D.C. BAR