On Friday, July 7, 2023, the Supreme Court of Maryland suspended attorney William Francis Trezevant for unauthorized practice in law.
The case is entitled “Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. William Francis Trezevant”
The charges cited Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct 1.16(a), 3.3(a), 4.1(a), 5.5(a), 8.1(a), and 8.4(a)(d).
An attorney shall not represent a client or, where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if: (1) the representation will result in violation of the [MARPC] or other law.
An attorney shall not knowingly: (1) make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to the tribunal by the attorney.
In the course of representing a client, an attorney shall not knowingly: (1) make a false statement of a material fact or law to a third person.
An attorney shall not practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation of the legal profession in that jurisdiction.
An attorney commits professional misconduct if the attorney violates or attempts to violate the MARPC, knowingly assists or induces another to do so, or do[es] so through the acts of another.
It is professional misconduct for an attorney to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the attorney’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as an attorney in other respects.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here,
Mr. Trezevant, who resides in Washington D.C., is not admitted to practice law in Maryland. He has been admitted to the New York Bar since 1994 and the Washington D.C. Bar since 1996. His D.C. bar license was administratively suspended at the time of the December 9, 2022 hearing in this matter. But he still acted as his great-niece’s lawyer in a child custody case in Baltimore County from March 2021. He did not tell the Maryland Bar or the court that he was not authorized to practice law in the state. He also did not ask for permission to represent his great-niece as an out-of-state lawyer. Later, he lied to the other lawyer and the court, saying that he had asked for and got permission to practice law in Maryland. When Bar Counsel asked him about it, he lied again, saying that he had never practiced law in Maryland and that he had told the court that he was not a lawyer.
The filing states:
“On or about March 2, Ms. Stern called Mr. Trezevant to confirm that he now represented C.A. The hearing judge found that, during the conversation, Mr. Trezevant “did not disclose that he was not a Maryland attorney or that he was related to C.A.” The same day, Ms. Stern sent Mr. Trezevant her case files and moved to strike her appearance in D.S.’s CINA case. The circuit court entered an order stating that the motion to strike “would be granted when C.A.’s new attorney entered an appearance in the case.” Mr. Trezevant appeared on behalf of C.A. at the remote April 1 permanency planning review hearing before Magistrate Dilip Paliath . The hearing judge found that Mr. Trezevant “had not sought special admission as an out of state attorney in the case or filed any entry of appearance” and “failed to advise Magist rate Paliath that he was not admitted to practice law in Maryland.” Mr. Trezevant advocated for adopting a plan to ultimately place D.S. with C.A. at C.A.’s mother’s home, rather than a plan that called for reunification with either parent.”
The filing continues:
“The hearing judge found that Mr. Trezevant falsely replied that he “filed an oral appearance at the last hearing” and was “received and accepted by the [magistrate], on the record.” 3 He also offered to file a written appearance. Ms. Hermann asked Mr. Trezevant to do so and to confirm that he was licensed to practice law in Maryland. In response, Mr. Trezevant accused Ms. Hermann of using an “administrative” issue to avoid the merits of the case and also asserted that he was “not worried about [his] standing [,] ” reiterating that the circuit court had already “approved [his] standing and [his] appearance.”
The hearing judge found six aggravating factors: dishonest motive, pattern of misconduct, multiple offenses, bad faith obstruction of the disciplinary proceeding, refusal to acknowledge wrongful conduct, and substantial experience practicing law.
The Supreme Court of Maryland issued an opinion indefinitely suspending Mr. Trezevant from practicing law in the state, with the right to petition for reinstatement after 90 days. The Court agreed with the sanction recommended by Bar Counsel, citing cases where attorneys received similar suspensions for unauthorized practice of law coupled with dishonesty.
The Disposition states:
“The Supreme Court of Maryland concluded that an indefinite suspension with the right to petition for reinstatement in 90 days was the appropriate sanction”
Mr. Trezevant practices in New York. His info can be found lawyersjustia.com.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.