About the Author

Joseph M. Getty

Joseph M. Getty

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who failed to competently and diligently represent a client by failing to pursue the client's claim or take any meaningful action towards pursuing the claim, abandoning the client after failing to communicate over a span of ten months despite the client's numerous attempts, and failed to communicate with the client's new attorney and Bar Counsel's numerous requests for information during its investigation?

Holding: Where the attorney's disciplinary violations do not involve dishonesty, the sanction has often been an indefinite suspension absent a basis for mitigating the sanction. This helps to ensure that this lawyer not return to practice until the Court believes that she is able to comply with the rules. However, the Court declined to set a minimum length for this indefinite suspension because there is nothing in the record that would allow this Court to determine a minimum "sit-out" period.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (Competence), 1.3 (Diligence), 1.4(a)(2)-(3) and (b) (Communication), 1.16(d) (Declining or Terminating Representation), 8.1(b) (Bar Admission and Disciplinary Matters), and 8.4(a) and (d) (Misconduct).

Citation 450 Md. 447 (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.


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.