Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 23

Look at those factors and start aligning the conduct to be consistent with
those factors. There are times when we don't oppose readmission because
we are satisfied. You would be surprised at the number of lawyers who
don't try to be readmitted. It's possible. But you need to plan for it.
How did you get started in the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?
I only wanted to be a lawyer and didn't plan to become anything else.
I've worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, operated a solo practice,
taught as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center,
and taken on white-collar criminal defense work for Sutherland Asbill
& Brennan, LLP.
Back in the 1980s, I was retained to represent a lawyer who had been
charged with a misdemeanor that led to disciplinary charges. After the
case, I was appointed to the Board on Professional Responsibility Hearing
Committee. When a vacancy on the board came up, I filled out that term
and spent a full two terms on the board until 1996. After retiring from
private practice, I applied to the [ODC] in 2011 and became assistant disciplinary counsel.
What's a typical day at your office like?
It's a mixture of things. Most of my time is spent going through documents.
On my desk, I have three files that I need to act on. I also personally investigate and litigate cases. I have one set for a hearing later this year, one
pending contact member approval, and nine under investigation, some
of which involve more than one lawyer. Last week, I argued a case before
the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Someone might come in and ask my advice on how to handle a situation in
an upcoming hearing. I edit and sign all the briefs we file. Sitting on my desk
are a couple of memos on rule changes to provide to the Board on
Professional Responsibility.
What kinds of challenges do you deal with in this role?
By far, our biggest challenge is with delays. For a case to be fully litigated, it
takes on average five years. During this five-year process, the lawyer is free
to practice.

''

The lawyer has the burden
of proving they are fit to practice
again. Have they kept current with
the law? Accepted responsibility
for their conduct? Have they made
the client whole? Have they put
into place procedures that will
give the court assurance that
it won't occur again?

One of my priorities is weeding out a lot of old cases, but we're not where
I want us to be. The problem is systemic. The Hearing Committee members
are volunteers and have full-time careers. They write very lengthy reports.
The Court of Appeals has high-quality judges who do a thorough a job, but
they're short two judges. That contributes to the problem. The court might
look at some kind of a systemic change to address these challenges, but it
doesn't have time. I know of one judge in particular who gets in to work at
6 a.m. and leaves at 6 p.m. They have a big caseload and have to review
every case that's an appeal. We need the president to appoint two more
judges. One seat has been vacant for two years and the other for six.
What do you love about the law?
It is probably the only thing I am competent to do! It requires intellectual
rigor but in the practical context of marshalling facts in order to persuade.
At the end of the process, you either win or lose. That means there are
actual, measurable results from your efforts, establishing success or failure.
The fact that, in the end, you will know that you have won or lost means
there is a challenge against which you can measure yourself; it keeps
things interesting.

Stacy Julien is a regular contributor to Washington Lawyer.
*

JUNE 2019

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 23


https://www.dcbar.org/

Washington Lawyer - June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Meet Susan M. Hoffman: 48th President of the D.c. Bar
Regulation Counsel: Ensuring the Highest Ethical Standards
Disciplinary Counsel: Acting on Misconduct Charges
Life After Disciplinary Action
Bar Business: Budget Report
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Rule Updates: Rule 49 on Pro Bono Attorneys
Disciplinary Summaries
Special Coverage: 2019 Judicial & Bar Conference
Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Meet Susan M. Hoffman: 48th President of the D.c. Bar
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Regulation Counsel: Ensuring the Highest Ethical Standards
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 18
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Disciplinary Counsel: Acting on Misconduct Charges
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Life After Disciplinary Action
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-1
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-2
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-4
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-5
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - S-6
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Bar Business: Budget Report
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Rule Updates: Rule 49 on Pro Bono Attorneys
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Special Coverage: 2019 Judicial & Bar Conference
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2019 - Cover4
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