Wednesday, April 6, 2022
This may be a first.
The District of Columbia Office of Disciplinary Counsel has informally admonished an attorney for neglect of a single client matter.
Your neglect of H.B.’s matter coincided with the start of the pandemic and continued through 2021. We recognize that much of 2020 was a particularly challenging time when COVID related deaths, illnesses, lockdowns, and social restrictions were at their peak without an end in sight. Therefore, we also considered your reaction to the pandemic as a mitigating factor in the context of your misconduct. Our consideration of this factor is heavily influenced by the timing and nature of your misconduct, coupled with the proactive remedial measures you took to cope better with the pandemic. We emphasize that the pandemic does not excuse an attorney’s failure to adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct, and an attorney’s reaction to it might not mitigate the sanction for violating the Rules in other cases.
In other words, it may mitigate neglect but not theft of entrusted funds. (Mike Frisch)