IN RE Frederic W. SCHWARTZ, Jr., Respondent. A Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (Bar Registration No. 197137)
January 22, 2019
Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional
Responsibility (Bar Docket No. 2009-D148), (Board Docket No.
Frederic W. Schwartz, Jr., pro se.
C. Lowery, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, with whom Hamilton
P. Fox, III, Disciplinary Counsel, and Hendrik deBoer, Senior
Staff Attorney, were on the brief, for the Office of the
Blackburne-Rigsby, Chief Judge, McLeese, Associate Judge, and
Ruiz, Senior Judge.
Board on Professional Responsibility (the "Board")
recommends that respondent Frederic W. Schwartz, Jr. be
informally admonished for violating Rule of
Professional Conduct 1.4(a) stemming from his failure to keep
his client, Dr. Jun Chen, "reasonably informed about the
status of his case" for a year and a half. Mr. Schwartz
concedes this violation. Before us is the Office of the
Disciplinary Counsels ("Disciplinary Counsel")
challenge to the Boards refusal to increase Mr. Schwartzs
sanction from an informal admonition to a more severe
sanction of a public censure. We adopt the Boards
recommendation of an informal admonition.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
August 2005, Dr. Chen, a Chinese national and post-doctoral
student at the University of Pittsburgh, contacted Mr.
Schwartz to apply for lawful permanent resident status
through an employment-based petition. After speaking with Mr.
Schwartzs Mandarin-speaking assistant, June Miyata, Dr. Chen
executed a retainer agreement sent to him by Ms. Miyata, with
the understanding that Mr. Schwartz was to pursue an
employment-based adjustment of Dr. Chens immigration status
through a national interest waiver. Mr. Schwartz admitted
that he did not directly communicate with Dr. Chen prior to
Dr. Chen executing the retainer agreement and also did not
inform Dr. Chen that his case would be behind several other
clients matters. For the next six months, Dr. Chen
communicated exclusively with Ms. Miyata and sent her
documents that she requested for his case. In April 2006, Dr.
Chen met Mr. Schwartz in person for the first and only time
at Mr. Schwartzs office to turn over several documents
needed for his immigration case. For the rest of that year,
Mr. Schwartz did not contact Dr. Chen about the status of his
January 2007, Ms. Miyatas own work permit was denied and she
returned to China. Mr. Schwartz did not hire a replacement
and, according to Mr. Schwartz, "there came a time when
the system essentially crumbled" which led to Mr.
Schwartz neglecting to contact Dr. Chen for three to four
months, as he "could not find [Dr. Chens] file."
Despite delays in the case due to deficiencies in the
documents Dr. Chen provided, Mr. Schwartz did not contact Dr.
Chen to remedy those deficiencies.
April 2006 to March 2007, Dr. Chen inquired twice by e-mail
requesting an update on his case. Following the first e-mail,
Mr. Schwartz briefly replied: "I am working on an
emergency deportation case and will reply in several
days." In the following five weeks, Dr. Chen sent Mr.
Schwartz seven follow-up e-mails expressing his frustration
with the lack of any response from Mr. ...