Legal Malpractice / Attorney Discipline

In order to recover against attorneys for legal malpractice, the general rule in Maryland and Washington, D.C. is that plaintiffs must allege and prove at least: (1) the employment of the attorneys by the plaintiffs; (2) the attorneys' breach of a duty owed to the plaintiffs; and (3) harm to the plaintiffs caused by the attorneys' breach of duty. (The first part of this general rule is subject to limited and narrow exceptions recognized by the courts in Maryland and Washington, D.C. under certain circumstances.) Statistics demonstrate a steady, perhaps even dramatic, increase in legal malpractice claims beginning in the 1960s and continuing through the present.

All jurisdictions in the United States, including Maryland and Washington, D.C., also have enacted ethical rules that govern the conduct of attorneys. Maryland and Washington, D.C. have both enacted Rules of Professional Conduct, which, though similar, are not identical. Maryland and Washington, D.C., like other jurisdictions, each also has its own government agency that investigates and prosecutes disciplinary complaints against attorneys. Each of these government agencies has its own staff of investigators and attorneys. The most common source of disciplinary complaints against attorneys is former, or current, clients. Unlike legal malpractice claims, however, strangers to the attorney–client relationship can also initiate disciplinary investigations against attorneys by filing disciplinary complaints. Likewise, the disciplinary agencies may initiate investigations on their own if they independently become aware of attorneys' possible violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Also unlike legal malpractice claims, the fact that attorneys' violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct did not cause damages of the type that could be recovered in legal malpractice, or other civil, claims does not protect attorneys from disciplinary sanctions. There also is no statute of limitations applicable to disciplinary complaints against attorneys.

Attorneys at Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan, P.C. have extensive experience in the defense of legal malpractice, and other civil, claims against attorneys in the state and federal courts of Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as in the defense of attorneys in disciplinary matters in Maryland and Washington, D.C. For those attorneys who have insurance, Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan, P.C. is on the list, or panel, of approved defense counsel for several companies that insure lawyers in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Our firm has also been approved on many occasions as defense counsel by insurance companies for whom we do not regularly defend claims, at the request of insured attorneys. Most lawyers' insurance policies also provide coverage up to a separate limit for the defense of disciplinary complaints. If a legal malpractice or disciplinary complaint is filed against you in Maryland or Washington, D.C., please consider requesting that your insurance company retain Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan, P.C. to represent you. If a legal malpractice or disciplinary complaint is filed against you in Maryland or Washington, D.C. and you do not have insurance, please contact Iliff, Meredith, Wildberger & Brennan, P.C. by telephone (410) 685–1166 or online to discuss possible representation at our reasonably hourly rates.

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