More Than a Slap on the Wrist is Needed


Lawyers in Maryland who kill their spouse or have sex with minors are quickly disbarred.  Unfortunately, that is not the outcome faced by those upholders of the law that steal, lie, cheat, abandon clients or even torture animals.  Those are the findings of an in-house study by the Attorney Grievance Commission, which reviewed 1,612 records, from 1930 to 2006 regarding attorney misconduct. 


A preliminary review of the data found that in just the preceding ten-year period, attorneys accused of “some kind of incompetence received suspensions almost twice as often as reprimands and three times as often as disbarments. Many had two or three sanctions with as many complaints, spanning up to six years.”  The findings suggested that an attorney had to make more than one mistake, or more than one client complaint had to be received before any type of disciplinary action was taken by the commission. 


The most common attorney complaint received by the commission for investigation involved attorneys who failed to return calls or send letters on time and ran out the statute of limitations.


Source:  “Bad Lawyers Worsen under Mild Punishments”, Anju Kaur, Southern Maryland Online, December 19, 2007,