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District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

May 7, 1998


Before Farrell, Ruiz and Reid, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam:

The Board on Professional Responsibility ("the Board") has recommended that respondent, Quentin W. Banks, be suspended from the practice of law for ninety days, with the execution of the final thirty days stayed, and after sixty days of the suspension, respondent be placed on probation for a period of one year, without a fitness requirement. In addition, the Board recommends four conditions of probation, relating to respondent's evaluation by, consent to and participation in a program conducted by the Lawyer Practice Assistance Committee ("LPAC"). The Board's recommendation covers two disciplinary matters, (1) No. 97-BG-329 for the violation of Disciplinary Rules 1.3(a) & (c), *fn1 and Rule 1.4(a) *fn1 in the handling of a pro bono divorce matter; and (2) No. 97-BG-1875 for the violation of Disciplinary Rule 1.5(b) for his representation of a client in an administrative grievance proceeding without a required written statement as to the basis of his fee. *fn1 The Board's recommendation is [709 A2d Page 1182]

based in part upon respondent's disciplinary history. *fn2

Respondent filed no exception in this court to the Board's recommendation, see D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9(e) (1998). Rule XI, § 9(g)(1), provides that this court "shall adopt the recommended disposition of the Board unless to do so would foster a tendency toward inconsistent dispositions for comparable conduct or would otherwise be unwarranted." As we said in In re Goldsborough, 654 A.2d 1285, 1288 (D.C. 1995): "The deferential standard mandated by this provision becomes even more deferential where, as here, the attorney has failed to contest the proposed sanction." Id. at 1288. See also Rule XI, § 9(g)(2) (1998) which specifies: "When no exceptions are filed . . ., the Court will enter an order imposing the discipline recommended by the Board upon the expiration of the time permitted for filing exceptions."

There is at least one feature of the recommended discipline which is somewhat unusual. Although our research has not been exhaustive, it appears that in all, or nearly all, the cases in which probation has been ordered so far, the misconduct was traceable at least partly to a disability, broadly understood. See In re Stow, 633 A.2d 782, 785 (D.C. 1993) ("[I]t is not at all clear that the 'disabilities' for which probation is appropriate should only be those listed in . . . the basic diagnostic guide used by health care providers"). See also, e.g., In re Mizel, 703 AN 1249 (D.C. 1997) (reciprocal probation ordered where attorney's conduct resulted from depression); In re Powers, 684 A.2d 783 (D.C. 1996) (suspension stayed in favor of probation where alcoholism caused original misconduct under test of In re Kersey, 520 A.2d 321 (D.C. 1987)); In re Slosberg, 650 A.2d 1329 (D.C. 1994) (reciprocal probation where misconduct was traceable to steroid dependency, psychological problems and domestic and work environment stress). Nonetheless, in In re Bradbury, 608 A.2d 1218 (D.C. 1992), we expressed the view that "[n]othing in our decisions prohibits the Board from recommending probation in a non-disability case." Id. at 1219 n. 2. In a subsequent reciprocal case, In re Mazor, 677 A.2d 523 (D.C. 1996), this court ordered suspension followed by probation where the court's discussion shows no indication of a disability. Thus, particularly when neither respondent nor Bar Counsel has challenged the appropriateness of probation here, we have no reason to pursue further its application to this non-disability case.

Accordingly, we adopt the recommendation of the Board.

So ordered.

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