The Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission will have to search for a new lead attorney after Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless submitted her resignation last Tuesday.
Lawless, who has held the role since being appointed in 2017, will leave office March 17, the commission announced Monday.
“I am confident that I brought a fresh perspective to the role of bar counsel and that I have accomplished the goals that I set for myself and the office,” Lawless is quoted as saying in a news release from the commission. “I know that my successor will find ways to continue to improve upon the important work of the office and am grateful for having had the privilege of serving the Commission and the people of Maryland.”
Asked what she would do after leaving the grievance commission, Lawless said in a text message she is “exploring opportunities.” In a statement, Lawless said she believes bar counsel is a position that should have a “limited term” for whoever is appointed.
As bar counsel, Lawless investigated claims of attorney misconduct and acted as prosecutor during disciplinary proceedings. Each year, Lawless’ office receives about 2,000 complaints against attorneys, according to the Attorney Grievance Commission website.
The Attorney Grievance Commission is composed of nine lawyers who appoint the bar counsel. The Supreme Court of Maryland then has to approve the nominee.
Attorney Grievance Commission Chair Linda Lamone, who is also the Maryland elections administrator, issued a statement thanking Lawless for her service.
“During her tenure, Lydia has made substantial improvements to the Office of Bar Counsel, all for the betterment of the people of Maryland,” Lamone said.
While much of the bar counsel’s work is private, Lawless’ public actions often made news.
Maryland Policy & Politics
In the now-settled public battle between Louis and John Angelos over their family’s assets, including the Baltimore Orioles, Lawless recommended last week that the white-collar lawyer William J. Murphy be appointed conservator of the Angelos family law firm. Baltimore County Circuit Judge Keith Truffer accepted Lawless’ recommendation.
Tasked with upholding the rules of professional conduct, Lawless has the power to recommend a lawyer’s license be stripped, and in some cases, restored.
Over the summer, she asked the Supreme Court of Maryland to suspend Kenneth Ravenell’s law license after he was convicted of money laundering in federal court.
Lawless at one point investigated former Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, having probed her finances. Charged federally with two counts of perjury and mortgage fraud, Mosby revealed what Lawless was seeking in an effort to have her charges dismissed. After requesting Mosby’s taxes for 2014 through 2019, Lawless filed a request for documents substantiating Mosby’s charitable donations for those years, as well as business records for Monumental Squared, a business owned by Baltimore City Council President Nick Mosby.
Documents included in the filing show Marilyn Mosby refused the request, arguing it was overly broad and amounted to an audit of Mosby’s taxes, which Lawless was not authorized to perform.
A 2007 graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law, Lawless joined the Attorney Grievance Commission as an assistant bar counsel in 2011. In July 2016 she was promoted to senior assistant bar counsel.
Before joining the commission, Lawless worked as an attorney in Bethesda.