About the Author

Michele D. Hotten

Michele D. Hotten

Judge, Court of Appeals of Maryland


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who failed to maintain an attorney trust account, failed to competently represent client in federal lawsuit, failed to clearly communicate billing structure to client, made an agreement with a client for an unreasonable fee, failed to hold third-party funds in trust, failed to properly terminate representation, presented frivolous arguments in a federal lawsuit, was sanctioned by a federal court, and failed to properly maintain records of client's payments to attorney and third-parties?

Holding: As a newly-admitted lawyer inexperienced in the unique challenges that confront solo practitioners, and those in private practice, generally, the Court found sufficient mitigating factors to justify an indefinite suspension with the right to apply for reinstatement after 90 days. As a condition of reinstatement, upon application, Respondent must provide the Attorney Grievance Commission and Bar Counsel with appropriate documentation showing the existence and maintenance of an attorney trust account.

Alleged Violations: Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct 1.1, 1.4(b), 1.5(a), 1.15(a) and (c), 1.16(d), 3.1, 3.4(a) and (d), 8.4(a) and (d), Maryland Rules 16-604 (now Maryland Rule 19-404) and 16-606.1 (now Maryland Rule 19-407), and Maryland Code (Repl. Vol. 2010), § 10-306 of the Business Occupations & Professions Article.

Citation 450 Md. 675, 150 A.3d 825 

  • 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.