Monday, October 29, 2007

Thy Client's Keeper

The D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended reciprocal discipline in a case where Maryland had reprimanded the lawyer and ordered a two-year probation under the supervision of a practice monitor. The case is unremarkable except for the fact that the Maryland Court of Appeals appointed the sanctioned lawyer's own counsel as the practice monitor. The D.C. Board recommends the same monitor, with some reservations: "We note...some concern, in that [the appointed monitor] served as counsel to Respondent in the Maryland proceeding before being appointed as his practice monitor. This...raises an issue as to whether a practice monitor who discovered a violation would be hindered in his duty of candid reporting because of a feeling of loyalty to a client. [The lawyer] did not serve as counsel to Respondent in these reciprocal D.C. proceedings. If he believes he cannot discharge  his obligations as practice monitor unencumbered by any duty of loyalty to Respondent, then he should decline the appointment." (Mike Frisch)

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