On Thursday, March 2, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals denied the petition for the reinstatement of Attorney Pamela Bruce Stuart after failing to demonstrate fitness to practice law brought about her engaging in a pattern of misconduct.

The case is entitled “In Re Pamela Bruce Stuart” with case no. 21-BG-0656.

The charges cited Florida Rules of Professional Conduct 3-4.3, 3-8.4(a), and 4-8.4(b) which state:

Acts that are “unlawful or contrary to honesty and justice;

Violating Rules of Professional Conduct;

Acts that “reflect adversely on the attorney’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respect.

The charge was brought about when Stuart was made a trustee of her father’s trust to which dispute arose about her performance of the responsibility. It was found that the respondent breached her fiduciary duties by loaning herself a substantial amount of money from the trust and by failing to provide requisite annual accountings.

A petition for reinstatement was filed on January 15, 2019. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for one year, with her reinstatement being conditioned upon a showing of fitness.

The filing states:

Petitioner filed a Petition for Reinstatement, asserting that she should be reinstated because her period of suspension has passed and she has studied for and passed the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam; has taken a six-hour course on Practicing with Professionalism for new lawyers in Florida; has completed 30 hours of CLE; and has exhibited remorse for the conduct that resulted in her suspension. Disciplinary Counsel filed its Answer to the Petition on March 1, 2019, opposing reinstatement on the basis of Petitioner’s not having satisfied the Roundtree factors.

Applying the Roundtree factors, the Committee first concluded that the nature and circumstances of Ms. Stuart’s misconduct were serious and disfavored reinstatement. Respondent took well over one million dollars from the trust without full consent or knowledge of her co-trustee or co-beneficiaries and used the same for her personal expenses.

The disposition states that:

We generally agree with the Hearing Committee’s analysis of the Roundtreec factors, and we accept the Committee’s recommendation that Ms. Stuart’s petition for reinstatement should be denied.

In conclusion, Respondent failed to carry her burden to establish that reinstatement is warranted.

Bruce was admitted to the New York bar in 1974. She is an Estate Planning Attorney in Washington, DC. Her information can be found here.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.