Colleagues Need Our Help
In 2012 and the first two months of 2013, 28 Montgomery County Lawyers were sanctioned by the Grievance Commission. This included eight disbarments and seven indefinite suspensions.
Twenty-eight attorneys and the Lawyer to Lawyer Committee did not get a referral for any of them. The Committee has discussed a number of ways that we thought we could reach more attorneys in need of our help. I spoke at our March Bar luncheon and I am following up with this article. With alcohol and drugs contributing to a number of these problems, I didn’t think an Open House with an Open Bar was the right approach!
Over the years, the Lawyer to Lawyer Committee has admitted Attorneys to the hospital, to alcohol and drug treatment and taken over their practice until they could get back on their feet. Several of our Committee members have personal experience with alcohol and drug abuse. Some of them have indicated they do not mind if I divulge their identity. They have been sober and drug free for many years.
A referral can come from a Judge, a partner, an associate, a friend, a lawyer on the other side of the case or from an attorney who does not know the attorney in need, but has noticed red flags and obvious problems. You can remain anonymous with your referral so that the individual involved will not know your identity nor will the other Committee members.
Some persistent problems resulting in disciplinary action:
• Misappropriation of funds
• Not maintaining a Trust Account
• Withdrawing unearned monies from Trust Account
• Unethical sharing of fee with non-Lawyers and Lawyers not working on case
• Not keeping a client reasonably informed about status of a case
• Failing to diligently pursue client’s cases
• Not filing and paying Payroll taxes
• Not returning unearned fees to the client
Something is patently wrong when we don’t get one referral for 28 Attorneys. Members of our Bar need to step forward and help our colleagues. In many instances, time is of the essence.
Deane A. Shure, Chair
Deane A. Shure
Jeffrey N. Hamberger
February 19, 2014
March 19, 2014
April 16, 2014
May 21, 2014
Meetings will be held at 5:00P.M. on the 3rd Wednesday of the month in the upstairs conference room of the Bar Association building, located at 27 West Jefferson St., Rockville, MD.