About the Author

Mary Ellen  Barbera

Mary Ellen Barbera

Chief Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland

ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMM'N v. TANKO II

Issue: When a suspended lawyer engages in the practice of law before seeking reinstatement, does his good faith belief that he was already a member in good standing eliminate the need for sanctions?

Holding: Although the suspended lawyer did not intend to violate the law in this case, his ignorance of the law reflects poorly on his fitness to practice and warrants an indefinite suspension.

UPDATE: This attorney was ultimately reinstated on February 12, 2014 in a Per Curiam order in which the Court required him to refund $2,500 in unearned fee to the client.  Judge Battaglia dissented, expressing the view that the entire $5,000 be refunded as a condition to reinstatement.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1 (competence), 1.2(a) (scope of representation and allocation of authority between client and lawyer), 1.4(a) and (b) (communication), 1.15(a) and (c) (safekeeping property), 5.5(a), (b)(1) and (b)(2) (unauthorized practice of law), 8.1 (b) (bar admission and disciplinary matters), and 8.4(a)-(d) (misconduct).

Citation: 427 Md. 15, 45 A.3d 281 (2012)

  • 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