Friday, December 19, 2008

Much Ado Over Very Little

As I have previously noted, recent revisions to the rules governing bar discipline in the District of Columbia pretty much take the Board on Professional Responsibility out of the reciprocal discipline business. The wisdom of those changes is underscored by a board report filed on December 9. The attorney had been disbarred in Maryland for filing under oath a perjurious application for pro hac vice admission to an Illinois federal court, approving a false press release designed to defraud investors and unauthorized practice of law. The board recommends disbarment, but only after eleven pages of hand wringing agony.

The main issue? Maryland is less tolerent of serious dishonesty than the board, which seems to find that such conduct is par for the course for D.C. lawyers. Finding that the dishonesty here "does not approach the gravity" of D.C. disbarment for dishonesty cases, the board only recommends identical discipline because the lawyer did not object to disbarment or otherwise participate in the proceedings.

Perjury and defrauding investors? Not a big deal. (Mike Frisch)

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Mike, you appear to be arguing that substantive errors by the Board justify the recent procedural changes. While I agree that the Board spoke too leniently in this uncontested matter, I do not agree that this justifies the Court’s decision to deprive lawyers who do wish to appear and contest discipline appropriate procedural protections.


Posted by: FixedWing | Dec 19, 2008 8:46:13 AM

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