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 and diligently represent his clients' interests, failed to sufficiently and timely communicate with his clients, failed to refund unearned legal fees to clients, misappropriated funds for his own personal use, fraudulently altered checks, made misrepresentations or outright lied to clients and third parties, and threatened to "blow up" a building in which a physical therapy facility, whose owner had filed a complaint on behalf of the facility against him, was located?

Holding: Describing this lawyer as a "a one-man misconduct wave over the course of several years in connection with numerous client matters," the Court imposed the sanction of disbarment.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Attorneys' Rules of Professional Conduct Rules ("MARPC") 1.1 (Competence), 1.2(a) (Scope of Representation), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4 (Communication), 1.5(a) (Unreasonable Fees), 1.5(c) (Contingent Fees), 1.15(a), (c), and (d) (Safekeeping Property), 1.16(d) (Terminating Representation), 3.4(d) (Fairness to Opposing Party and Attorney), 4.1(a)(1) (False Statement to Third Person), 8.1(b) (Failing to Respond to Lawful Demand for Information), 8.4(b) (Criminal Act), 8.4(c) (Dishonesty, Fraud, Deceit, or Misrepresentation), 8.4(d) (Conduct that is Prejudicial to Administration of Justice), and 8.4(a) (Violating MARPC), and Md. Code. Ann., Bus. Occ. & Prof. (1989, 2010 Repl. Vol., 2017 Supp.) § 10-306 (Trust Money Restrictions).

Citation: Misc. Docket AG No. 35

  • 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.


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.