How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask P. Simmons Your Own Question

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27023
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
11181181
Type Your Legal Question Here...
P. Simmons is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

This is a very specific question and needs a specific answer.

Resolved Question:

This is a very specific question and needs a specific answer. I am considering filing charges under Maryland code 10-601 for practicing law without being admitted to the bar.

A compliance lawyer at a health care provider in Virginia sees that a political adversary is suing Mr. X. The lawyer does not know Mr. X, but he hates the plaintiff for ideological reasons. He is not licensed to practice in Maryland, but he offers his pro-bono services to give advice to Mr. X. The plaintiff becomes aware that Mr. X is receiving advice from a lawyer operating under a pseudonym. He does not know this lawyer. He files a subpoena to Internet providers to disclose his name so he can know the identity of the person providing advice to the Respondent. The lawyer files a motion in the Maryland court to quash the subpoena. In this motion, he refers to the Respondent several times as "his client" and asserts "attorney-client privilege." In his motion to quash, he "respectfully XXXXX XXXXX court to dismiss the underlying injunction against Mr. X". As for his reasons for maintaining anonymity in the court, the lawyer writes in his motion to quash, "With respect and no malice to his client, Mr. X is a poor advocate for his own cause and (my) right to anonymous speech should not be breached simply because Mr. X. was unable to stand up properly for himself. Indeed, he allowed a default judgment to be entered against him and could not find affordable counsel in Maryland to stand up for him. (I, anonymously) therefore should be granted standing to challenge the underlying injunction"

He goes on to discuss the Petitioner's demand to know his identity and says he can not reveal it without Mr. X's say so, as "attorney-client privilege" is attached.

My question. Is this attorney, unlicensed in Maryland, representing a "client" in a Maryland proceeding, therefore violating Maryland Code 10-601 which says no one may act as a lawyer in a Maryland court without being admitted to the bar?

Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

I think there may be some confusion

10-601 relates to cruelty to animals

Are we talking about some other state?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

http://www.lawserver.com/law/state/maryland/md-laws/maryland_laws_business_occupations_and_professions_10-601


 


Hope this helps! :)

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Sorry...I was focused on criminal law. This is a regulation of lawyers and what you describe is not criminal (but there may be civil penalties)

So it is not in the criminal law section.

I have the code...give me a few minutes, I want to run through some case law research over this code....
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No problem. I do know that in Maryland, being found guilty is a misdemeanor, subject to a $5,000 fine and/or 1 year in prison for each count. I am considering filing charges because this now unemployed lawyer, unlicensed in my state, has been providing pro-bono advice to two people who have taken out charges against me (which have since been nolle pross'd) and have sought peace orders against me for using an "@mention" on Twitter -- one such peace order being granted for six months. He hasn't been quite so blatant, but I do have evidence of his fingerprints on my cases. I just want to see if what he did in this previous case arises to the level of violating the law on practicing law without being admitted to the bar. How can he ask a court to provide relief for "his client" in a Maryland court when he is not licensed here?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.

OK...found the case law (there are a significant number of cases on point...) It may take me 1/2 hour or so to sift through them to check against your fact pattern... First impression is that this is clearly a violation of the code (subjecting the "lawyer" to penalties Is there ANY indication that this is a case of pro hac vice (him requesting admission for one time for this issue)?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No indication of that whatsoever.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
ahh...there is a "loophole" if this is a federal only issue.

Example, if this was a HIPAA case, and it was going to federal court, that would allow a non MD licensed attorney bring the issue to the federal court over a federal matter. This is common on issues like immigration law, or patent law


You state

The lawyer files a motion in the Maryland court to quash the subpoena. In this motion, he refers to the Respondent several times as "his client" and asserts "attorney-client privilege.

Is this federal district court in MD? Or MD state court?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

This is not a federal issue. This is a lawsuit in a Montgomery County, Maryland, District Court. The Plaintiff was seeking a peace order to be left alone by Mr. X, when the Virginia lawyer jumped into the case.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
The the answer is clearly this is a violation

Give me a bit if time and will provide cases to support
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. In fact, this was in Montgomery County Circuit Court. The Attorney sought to offer his assistance to the Respondent on an anonymous basis and when the Plaintiff objected and filed a subpoena to have the lawyer's internet provider reveal his name, the lawyer responded with a motion to quash the subpoena, in which he asked the court to find for the Respondent, to allow him to keep his anonymity, and referring to the respondent as "my client", asserting "attorney-client privilege."

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
There are literally dozens of cases that apply (are on point) to show what happened was a violation of BUSINESS OCCUPATIONS AND PROFESSIONS  10-606 (a)(3) which is a criminal offense (misdemeanor). The cases on point stem from bar complaints...they are brought by the Attorney grievance commission against individuals.

I will list a few of the cases with links (so you can review them yourself)

Of note, there are MANY cases that apply that deal with MD lawyers who are suspended or disbarred. The analysis is the same (if you are suspended from practice and practice, you violate the law), but I have limited the cases to folks who are licensed in a different state and practice in MD.

Here are the cases



ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND v.Jude AMBE. 38 A.3d 390 425 Md. 98 (2011)

NY attorney sets up practice in MD. Claims it is limited to federal immigration (which under federal law would be legal). But there is evidence he is representing clients on state law matters (on tort claims)

Link here

http://mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2012/6a11ag.pdf


This case really covers your fact pattern on several points. It does a great analysis of the MRPC (the Maryland rules of professional conduct for lawyers) and how in this case the NY lawyer was clearly representing MD clients on MD law matters (personal injury law issues). It shows that any person (attorney not licensed in MD or non attorney not licensed in MD) who claims to be a MD lawyer and represents it to a party, that is a violation of the law.


ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND v. BARNEYS 805 A.2d 1040 370 Md. 566 (2002)

Link here

http://www.courts.state.md.us/opinions/coa/2002/2a01ag.pdf

Another case of a NY lawyer opening up shop in MD.

Similar fact pattern is similar. It started with a grievance and led to a criminal case. Like the AMBE case, it does a good job of going over the MRPC implications of practice in MD without a license. IN this case, the individual represented clients and, in at least one case, file pleadings to a MD state court on behalf of a client.





ATTORNEY GRIEVANCE COMMISSION OF MARYLAND v ALSAFTY 838 A.2d 1213
379 Md. 1 (2003)


Link here
http://www.courts.state.md.us/opinions/coa/2003/93a02ag.pdf


Another case of a NY lawyer. He took the MD bar exam but had not been admitted

In this case, he had represented multiple clients to the MD Courts. This case does talk at length about the “legitimate” clients (federal immigration clients) but also about the numerous clients he represented on state law issues.

So there you have 3 cases that are similar. Lawyers licensed in a separate state, representing individuals to MD state courts, acting as a lawyer.

Clearly a violation of MD law

Sorry for the delay...again, most of the cases on point were of MD lawyers suspended or disbarred...had to search for cases of lawyers from other jurisdictions


Let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27023
Experience: 16 yrs. of trial experience
P. Simmons and 6 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8436
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    19941
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    8189
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/jespoag/2008-12-17_222355_jessepic.jpg JPEsq's Avatar

    JPEsq

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    2132
    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/gsenmartin/2008-04-22_214950_me1.jpg Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    110
    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PA/PaulmoJD/2013-10-10_195858_JAImage.64x64.jpg Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    31621
    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    15975
    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
 
 
 

Related Legal Questions

Chat Now With A Lawyer
P. Simmons
P. Simmons
Lawyer
27023 Satisfied Customers
16 yrs. of trial experience