Thursday, March 12, 2009
The benefits of recent rule changes in the District of Columbia's disciplinary procedures are on display in two cases decided today. The first imposes a public censure as consent discipline based on admissions by the lawyer of lapses in two matters involving commingling and failure to maintain a normal attorney-client relationship. A hearing on the consent discipline led to findings that the lawyer "did not understand... accounting responsibilities, but had taken steps to correct the errors." The attorney must take CLE, meet with the Bar's Practice Management Advisory Service and comply with prescribed requirements. From hearing to final resolution took less than three months.
In the second matter, the court imposed reciprocal discipline based on the attorney Pennsylvania consent to disbarment in September 2008. The court had ordered the attornery to show cause why identical discipline not be imposed and ordered the sanction when he did not respond. Under prior practice, such a case would have been referred to the Board on Professional Responsibility. The board would receive briefs and make a recommendation. Now, that process is eliminated where the lawyer fails to seek it. (Mike Frisch)