About the Author

Lynne A. Battaglia

Lynne A. Battaglia

Retired Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. GRACEY

Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who wrongfully withdrew money from clients' accounts without authorization, made fraudulent transactions through his bank account, failed to return unearned fees, failed to deposit funds into an attorney trust account, knowingly allowed his employees to solicit potential clients by telephone and in-person, knowingly made false statements in connection with a disciplinary matter and failed to timely respond to requests from Bar Counsel?

Holding: Rather than attempt to distinguish between degrees of intentional dishonesty based upon convictions, testimonials or other factors, the Court considers intentional dishonest conduct to be closely entwined with the most important matters of basic character to such a degree as to make intentional dishonest conduct by a lawyer almost beyond excuse. Because honesty and dishonesty are, or are not, present in an attorney's character, the Court held that disbarment ordinarily should be the sanction for intentional dishonest conduct and imposed it in this case.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct ("MLRPC") 1.15(a), (c) and (e) (Safekeeping Property); 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation); 5.3 (a), (b) and (c) (Responsibilities Regarding Nonlawyer Assistants); 7.3(a) (Direct Contact with Prospective Clients); 8.1(a) and (b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters); and 8.4 (a), (b), (c), and (d) (Misconduct).

Citation:  448 Md. 1 (2016)

  • 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