Notwithstanding the Pandemic, as well as the associated closures of Courts and the slowdown of the judicial process, the attorney disciplinary system continues to work at full throttle.  It would appear that during the Pandemic people have much more time to go exploring on their computers and consequently, complaints about lawyers are being made with increasing frequency.

 

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What To Do If You Receive A Complaint

If you receive a complaint from the Attorney Grievance Commission, it is strongly suggested that you NOT respond to that complaint immediately.  Rather, you should first review your Policy of Professional Negligence insurance.  

Most professional negligence insurers provide, generally in the “supplemental payment” section of the policy, a provision covering defense costs which is not subject to a deductible.  It is probable that you have coverage to engage an attorney who is experienced in the defense of professional negligence matters and have that defense paid for by your negligence insurer.  

If you do have insurance, it is suggested that you immediately notify your insurance representative or broker of the existence of a complaint, and request that the carrier provide you with a competent lawyer.  Our firm is on panel to virtually every insurer that writes in Maryland and would be pleased to assist.  

 

If you do not have professional negligence insurance, engaging a competent lawyer to assist you is the preferred route.  If on the other hand, you are determined to represent yourself in a disciplinary matter, it is strongly suggested that in your response to Bar Counsel you follow these basic guidelines:

  1. Keep the response as brief and direct as possible, while fully responding.
  2. Focus only on the issues that are being raised by Bar Counsel and do not raise additional issues. 
  3. Do not in any way impugn the person making the complaint, the Office of Bar Counsel, or anyone else.  
  4. Be professional in your response, both in tone and in your use of the English language.  Proofreading is not a waste of time.

Lastly, before sending the response, confer with a colleague in whom you have trust and ask his or her advice with regard to both the complaint and the response.

 

Contact the Law Offices of Eccleston & Wolf About Attorney Grievances 

For decades, Eccleston and Wolf has been a leader in defending lawyers in ethical matters in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Northern Virginia (the DMV). In addition to the defense of legal malpractice claims, the firm’s practice focuses on the defense of Bar Complaints submitted to the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission, the District of Columbia Office of Disciplinary Counsel, and the Virginia Office of Bar Counsel.

Retaining experienced ethics counsel is vital. With your livelihood, license, and integrity at stake, rely upon the knowledge, experience, and expertise provided by Eccleston and Wolf. We are confident that consultation with your trusted colleagues in the profession, judges, insurance agents, and insurance carriers will confirm the selection of Eccleston and Wolf as your ethics counsel.

If you would like further information or wish to retain the firm, please contact Alvin I. Frederick or Stephen M. Cornelius.