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In re Steinberg

November 02, 2000

IN RE ANDREW M. STEINBERG, RESPONDENT.


Before Schwelb and Washington, Associate Judges, and Newman, Senior Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

A Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility

Argued October 11, 2000

In its attached Report and Recommendation, the Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended that Andrew M. Steinberg, a member of our Bar, be suspended from practice for thirty days for conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice. The facts on which the recommendation was based are more fully described in the Board's Report. In essence, Steinberg was extremely dilatory in responding to Bar Counsel's requests for information on two separate but chronologically overlapping matters and failed to cooperate with the investigations. Steinberg had also previously been the subject of discipline in a separate case, see In re Steinberg, 720 A.2d 900 (D.C. 1998) (Steinberg I), in which this court ordered his suspension from practice for thirty days.

Steinberg contends that the sanction recommended by the Board in the instant proceeding is too severe. He asserts that a reprimand would have been the appropriate discipline. We are, however, required to impose the sanction recommended by the Board unless doing so would "foster a tendency toward inconsistent dispositions for comparable conduct or would otherwise be unwarranted." D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9 (g). Substantially for the reasons stated by the Board, and especially in light of his prior suspension in Steinberg I, we are satisfied that Steinberg has failed to make the requisite showing. As the Board correctly stated,

attorneys cannot be allowed to willfully ignore and frustrate the efforts of Bar Counsel and the Board to obtain responses to charges of serious ethical misconduct. Attorneys must know that if they choose this course of action, the consequences will be severe.

For the foregoing reasons, Andrew M. Steinberg is hereby suspended from practice for thirty days, effective fifteen days after the date of this order. We once again direct Steinberg's attention to the requirement of D.C. Bar R. XI, § 14 and to the consequences of noncompliance with these requirements, as set forth in D.C. Bar R. XI, § 16 (c). See Steinberg I, supra, 720 A.2d at 901-02.

So ordered.

APPENDIX

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

In the Matter of

ANDREW M. STEINBERG, Respondent.

Bar Docket Nos. 203-98 & 372-98

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE BOARD ON PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY

Respondent stands charged by Bar Counsel in each of these two separate but chronologically overlapping matters with violating Rule 8.4(d) of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct for engaging in conduct that seriously interferes with the administration of justice and with violating D.C. App. R. XI, §2(b)(3) for failing to comply with orders of this Board. The gist of the two matters is that Respondent was extremely dilatory in responding to Bar Counsel's requests for information.

Respondent does not contest the facts alleged in the petition or deny that he violated Rule 8.4(d) and D.C. App. R. XI, §2(b)(3) in each matter. Respondent's Brief at 1. Respondent's exception to the Hearing Committee's recommended sanction of a 30-day suspension with the requirement that he demonstrate fitness prior to reinstatement is that it is too severe in light of the discipline imposed in factually comparable cases involving failures to cooperate with Bar Counsel. Id. at 1-2. Bar Counsel contends that the Hearing Committee's recommendation is consistent with applicable precedents. Brief of Bar Counsel at 1.

A. Facts Underlying Bar Docket No.203-98 (Steinberg/Pillay)

1. The disciplinary complaint was docketed on or about May 1, 1998. *fn1 It was mailed by Bar counsel to Respondent at his address listed with the District of Columbia Bar, namely 1875 Eye Street, N.W., 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006 under cover of a letter requesting a response from Respondent by May 15, 1998. *fn2 No response was received and the letter was not returned to the Office of Bar Counsel.

2. On or about July 7, 1998, Bar Counsel wrote to Respondent at 1750 K Street, N.W., 12th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20006, an address previously listed with the Bar, to inform him of his responsibility to submit a response within five days. This letter was returned with a forwarding address provided by the Post ...


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