About the Author

Shirley M. Watts

Shirley M. Watts

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who failed to competently represent clients in two separate matters by failing to file a brief in an appeal and failing to obtain visas for a client and family in an immigration case, failed to communicate with a client, failed to perform work for which he had been paid, failed to keep a client's funds in an attorney trust account, delayed proceedings in an appeal, knowingly failed to respond to Bar Counsel, and engaged in conduct that would negatively impact the perception of the legal profession of a reasonable member of the public?

Holding: Having failed to file an answer to the Petition for Disciplinary or Remedial Action or to present any mitigating evidence whatsoever, the lawyer failed to link a diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety to his misconduct in the cases before the Court. Taken together, his flagrant misconduct, combined with a multitude of aggravating factors, warrant disbarment.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a)(2) (Communication), 1.5(a) (Reasonable Fees), 1.15(a), 1.15(c) (Safekeeping Property), 3.2 (Expediting Litigation), 3.4(c) (Fairness to Parties and Opposing Counsel), 8.1(b) (Disciplinary Matters), 8.4(d) (Conduct That is Prejudicial to Administration of Justice) and 8.4(a) (Violating the MLRPC).

Citation: Misc. Docket AG Nos. 9 and 25