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As one law professor wrote, this oral “argument delve[d] into the philosophy of attorney regulation and the appropriate role of disciplinary counsel in a way that few cases do.”


The Court’s upcoming opinion in this case may help to define the purposes and parameters of our disciplinary system. This case involves a D.C. Bar member charged with the unauthorized practice

Q. Representing a large manufacturer, I sent a demand letter threatening to sue its competitor and promising a nasty discovery process that would be the “legal equivalent of a proctology exam.” Did I go too far?


A. Perhaps.You are, after all, a Juris Doctor. But that doesn’t entitle you to conduct proctology exams, or the “legal equivalent” thereof.When “representing a

Q. I regularly fly to depositions for a client that pays for my time in transit. If I work on another client’s case during the flight, may I bill that time as well?


A. Before researching this issue, I would have said, “why not?” After all, you could choose to watch a movie or read a magazine on the plane

Q. I’ve always heard that referral fees are forbidden. But I know lawyers who routinely refer cases for a share of the profit, even if they’re not licensed where the cases are pending. Isn’t this unethical?


A. Not if you do it right.Strictly speaking, “referral fees” remain illegal in all but a few states like California and Virginia. Since you can’t

Observing that the attorney’s “contributions to the community through his pro bono legal service and his other volunteer efforts have been exceptional,” the Court rejected Bar Counsel’s request for a suspension and held “that the mitigating factors in this case warrant the lesser sanction of a reprimand.”


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney who made mistakes

Q. To help me celebrate April Fool’s Day, the local sheriff will have my law partner detained as he walks into court today. When he asks why, the sheriff will say he’s being arrested for the prank he pulled on me last year. Pretty hilarious, huh?


A. Perhaps. But Bar Counsel may not share your sense of humor.That’s what one lawyer learned when

Q. I’ve had my fill of ignorant and arrogant judges who disgrace the ill-fitting robes they wear. As lawyers, isn’t it time we speak out and post about judicial incompetence so we may improve justice for all?


A. Unless you plan to retire, your efforts to reform the system through social media may not be a great career move.Sites like Facebook and

Q. I’m not inclined to make excuses. But things have been so hectic in my office that I let a nice accident case slip through the cracks and failed to file suit by the limitations deadline. My head is spinning. What should I do now?


A. When you make mistakes like this, you must rely on two policies: Your malpractice

Finding Bar Counsel’s call for an indefinite suspension too “extreme,” the Court imposed a more modest moratorium on a lawyer with an unblemished record in close to 50 years of practice.


Issue: What sanction should the Court impose upon an attorney whose violations arose from his delegation of significant responsibilities in personal injury matters to an independent paralegal firm; his lack of supervision over