Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 42


ASK THE

ETHICS EXPERTS
By Saul Jay Singer

Whenever I faced a potential conflict of interest, I've always sought my
client's consent to continue the representation, but now I'm wondering:
Am I ethically required to receive such consent in writing?

A:

You ask an important question. As a
preliminary matter, under the D.C. Rules it
is important to note that the client's
"consent" must always be informed consent, as
defined by Rule 1.0(e). In each of the following
instances, a lawyer with a conflict must first obtain the
client's informed consent (and, in all these
circumstances, additional requirements must also be
met):
Rule 1.7(b) and (c)(1). A lawyer who has a conflict due
to concurrent representations that do not require the
advancement of an adverse position in the same
matter must obtain informed consent from each
potentially affected client. (A writing is not required,
but is recommended.)

DISCIPLINARY
SUMMARIES
Disciplinary Actions Taken by the Board
on Professional Responsibility
Hearing Committees on Negotiated
Discipline
In re Richard J. Bianco. Bar No. 475319.
October 24, 2016. The Board on Professional
Responsibility's Ad Hoc Hearing Committee
recommends that the D.C. Court of Appeals
accept Disciplinary Counsel's and Bianco's
petition for negotiated discipline and
suspend Bianco for 18 months, beginning 30
days after the court issues its order, with six
months stayed in favor of a six-month period
of unsupervised probation with conditions
for violations of Rules 1.1(b), 1.3(a), 1.3(b)(1),
and 8.4(c).
Disciplinary Actions Taken by the Board
on Professional Responsibility
Original Matters
In re John M. Green. Bar No. 476592. October
14, 2016. On remand from the D.C. Court
of Appeals concerning how a sanction
should be served, in light of reciprocal
discipline previously imposed in a separate
unrelated matter, the Board on Professional
Responsibility recommends that the D.C.
Court of Appeals issue an order suspending
Green for 90 days, to run concurrently with
the suspension imposed in In re Green, 114
A.3d 660 (D.C. 2016) (Mem).
In re Nathaniel H. Speights. Bar No. 952036.
October 11, 2016. The Board on Professional
Responsibility recommends that the D.C.
Court of Appeals suspend Speights for

Rule 1.8(a). A lawyer who enters into a business
transaction with a client, or knowingly acquires a
pecuniary interest adverse to the client, must obtain
the client's informed consent in writing.
Rule 1.8(f). A lawyer representing multiple clients must
obtain the informed consent of each client in writing
before entering into an aggregate settlement on
behalf of all.
Rule 1.8(g)(2). A lawyer may not settle a client's
malpractice claim without first advising the client in
writing about the advisability of seeking the advice of
independent counsel.
Rule 1.9. A lawyer who has a conflict between his or
her current client and a former client may not go

forward with the current representation unless the
former client gives informed consent. (A writing is not
required, but is recommended.)
Even where the Rules do not require a writing, it is
nonetheless a most prudent practice to do it that way.
If a client later alleges that he or she never granted the
requisite consent, the lawyer, who bears the burden of
proof to show that such informed consent was given,
will be able to meet that burden by producing the
written consent, which should include a summary of
all the information that the lawyer provided to the
client pursuant to Rule 1.0(e).
D.C. Bar Legal Ethics counsel Hope C. Todd,
Saul Jay Singer, and Erika Stillabower are
available for inquiries at ethics@dcbar.org.

six months. While retained to represent
parents and their son in a personal injury
case concerning injuries the son suffered
in a skiing accident, Speights failed to
provide competent representation, failed to
represent the clients with the skill and care
afforded by other lawyers in similar matters,
failed to represent his clients zealously and
diligently, and failed to act with reasonable
promptness. Rules 1.1(a), 1.1(b), 1.3(a), and 1.3(c).

October 4, 2016. Abbey was suspended on
an interim basis pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, §
9(g), pending final action on the Board on
Professional Responsibility's July 12, 2016,
recommendation of disbarment.

Disciplinary Actions Taken by the District
of Columbia Court of Appeals

In re Jason E. Fisher. Bar No. 465014. October
7, 2016. Fisher was suspended on an interim
basis based upon discipline imposed in
Maryland.

Original Matters
In re Samuel Jay Levine. Bar No. 166306.
October 20, 2016. The D.C. Court of Appeals
indefinitely suspended Levine from the
practice of law pursuant to D.C. Bar Rule XI, §
13(e), effective immediately.
In re Layn M. Saint-Louis. Bar No. 457001.
October 26, 2016. The D.C. Court of Appeals
disbarred Saint-Louis for engaging in
intentional misappropriation, engaging in
dishonest conduct, and failing to safeguard
client property. While retained to represent a
Nigerian-based Swiss company to help it buy
two airplanes, Saint-Louis was entrusted with
over half a million dollars to hold in escrow
for use in the transaction and he gradually
withdrew the money for his personal use.
Thereafter, Saint-Louis continued to make
these withdrawals even after the client
disputed his claims for legal fees. Rules
1.15(a), 1.15(c) (recodified in 2010 as Rule
1.15(d)), 1.15(d) (recodified in 2010 as Rule
1.15(e)), and 8.4(c).
Interim Suspensions Issued by the
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
In re Catherine E. Abbey. Bar No. 436925.

In re Dorrance Dickens. Bar No. 450751.
October 3, 2016. Dickens was suspended on
an interim basis pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, §
9(g), pending final action on the Board on
Professional Responsibility's July 28, 2016,
recommendation of disbarment.

In re Brandi S. Nave. Bar No. 490964.
October 4, 2016. Nave was suspended on
an interim basis pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, §
9(g), pending final action on the Board on
Professional Responsibility's June 23, 2016,
recommendation of disbarment.
Informal Admonitions Issued by the
Office of Disciplinary Counsel
In re Anitra Ash-Shakoor. Bar No. 1008693.
October 4, 2016. Disciplinary Counsel issued
Ash-Shakoor an informal admonition. While
retained to file a joint bankruptcy petition
on behalf of a married couple, Ash-Shakoor
violated the Bankruptcy Court's rules by
knowingly filing a petition wherein one
spouse signed for the other even though
both were required to certify the petition
under penalty of perjury. Specifically,
Ash-Shakoor failed to provide competent
representation, failed to serve the clients
with the skill and care commensurate with
that generally afforded to clients by other
lawyers in similar matters, engaged in

conduct involving misrepresentation, and
engaged in conduct that seriously interfered
with the administration of justice. Rules
1.1(a), 1.1(b), 8.4(c), and 8.4(d).
In re Quentin D. Driskell. Bar No. 450787.
September 22, 2016. Disciplinary Counsel
issued Driskell an informal admonition. While
serving as a court-appointed attorney in an
appeals matter, Driskill failed to file a brief
in the matter, failed to respond to court
orders to do so, and failed to adequately
communicate with the client. Rules 1.1(a)
and 1.1(b) (competence), 1.3(a) (diligence),
1.4(a) (communication with a client), 1.16
(withdrawal), and 8.4(d) (conduct that
seriously interferes with the administration
of justice).
In re Michael J. Trevelline. Bar No. 437454.
September 22, 2016. Disciplinary Counsel
issued Trevelline an informal admonition.
While retained to represent a client in a
contract dispute with a university, Trevelline
failed to thoroughly investigate conflicting
information he received from an intern
working in his office before filing a pleading.
Rule 1.1(a) (competence).
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel compiled the
foregoing summaries of disciplinary actions.
Informal Admonitions issued by Disciplinary
Counsel and Reports and Recommendations
issued by the Board on Professional
Responsibility are posted at www.
dcattorneydiscipline.org. Most board
recommendations as to discipline are not final
until considered by the court. Court opinions
are printed in the Atlantic Reporter and also
are available online for decisions issued since
August 1998. To obtain a copy of a recent slip
opinion, visit www.dccourts.gov/internet/
opinionlocator.jsf.

Photos courtesy of McGuireWoods and Ropes & Gray LLP
42 WASHINGTON LAWYER * JANUARY 2017 *


http://www.dcattorneydiscipline.org http://www.dcattorneydiscipline.org http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/opinionlocator.jsf http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/opinionlocator.jsf http://www.dcbar.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January 2017

Washington Lawyer - January 2017
Contents
Your Voice
From Our President
Our Membership
Career & Professional Development
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
Feature: An Inside Job
Feature: Investment Planning for Lawyers
Feature: Making the Virtual Leap
Feature: Lawyers Have Heart
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Partners' Perspective
Ask the Ethics Experts
Attorney Briefs
Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Washington Lawyer - January 2017
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Contents
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 4
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 7
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Our Membership
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 9
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: An Inside Job
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 20
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Investment Planning for Lawyers
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 24
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Making the Virtual Leap
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 28
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Feature: Lawyers Have Heart
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 32
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 35
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Partners' Perspective
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 45
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - 47
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January 2017 - Cover4
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2021
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/marchapril2021
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/novemberdecember2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/septemberoctober2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com