Monday, July 30, 2007
An attorney who had failed to disclose that a prior employment was in her spouse's law office when applying for a position with a federal agency was suspended for 90 days by the Maryland Court of Appeals. The spouse provided a glowing reference and a competing employment offer. As a result, the attorney received a job offer at a higher starting salary than would have otherwise been given. The attorney did disclose the relationship on other documents "completed for purposes unrelated to [the attorney's] actual hire..."
When the non-disclosure was discovered, the agency did not take disciplinary action, but referred the matter for a bar investigation. However, the lawyer is no longer employed at the agency. The court held that "deceit can be based not only on overt misrepresentation but on concealment of material facts." The "concealment...impeded the ability of the [agency] to question and evaluate the bona fides of what was proferred as a competing offer." (Mike Frisch)