About the Author

Mary Ellen  Barbera

Mary Ellen Barbera

Chief Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. COLTON-BELL

Issue: What is the proper sanction for an attorney who failed to consult with her client about his case, reply to his correspondence, file a petition on his behalf and to return unearned fees?

Holding: Attorney was disbarred for abandoning her client’s case, misappropriating her client’s fee, charging an unreasonable fee, entering her appearance while no longer authorized to practice law in Maryland, and failing to respond to a lawful demand from the disciplinary authority in connection with an investigation.  The Court held that the attorney's misconduct was “egregious and deserving of disbarment.”

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.15, 1.16, 5.5, 8.1, and 8.4; Maryland Rules 16-604 and 16-606; and Maryland Code §§ 10-304 and 10-306 of the Business Occupations and Professions Article.

Citation: 434 Md. 553, 76 A.3d 1096 (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.

410.581.0070

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