On Wednesday, October 4, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an order suspending Bruce A. Johnson, Jr., a member of the D.C. Bar, on an interim basis. The disciplinary case against Johnson was initiated by the D.C. Bar’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which alleged that Johnson had violated various ethical rules, including engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Bruce A. Johnson, Jr,” with case no. 20-BD-020.
The District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility has recommended the disbarment of attorney Bruce A. Johnson, Jr., on July 18, 2023, after allegations of misconduct involving mishandling of IOLTA accounts. The case charges Johnson with violating various ethical rules, including record-keeping and reckless misappropriation, failure to promptly return property or unearned fees, and serious interference with the administration of justice.
According to a report and recommendation issued by the Ad Hoc Hearing Committee, Johnson was accused of engaging in misconduct related to two separate client matters and his handling of the IOLTA trust account. The report highlights various instances of professional misconduct, including a lack of diligence in ensuring that retainer agreements were properly signed and returned, failing to discuss with a client how he would handle advanced flat fees, and taking funds from clients’ trust accounts without proper authorization.
The Hearing Committee concluded that Johnson’s misconduct was very serious, as it jeopardized client funds held in trust and undermined public confidence in the bar. The Committee recommended a suspension from the practice of law. However, the Board on Professional Responsibility found that Johnson’s violations were reckless and rose to the level of disbarment unless extraordinary circumstances could be proven. As Johnson failed to prove such circumstances, the Board recommended disbarment.
In response to the Board’s recommendation, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals suspended Johnson, Jr., on an interim basis, effective immediately, pending final action on the Board’s recommendation of disbarment. This means that Johnson is prohibited from practicing law in the District of Columbia until further notice.
The Disposition states:
“In re Bruce A. Johnson, Jr . Bar No. 445925. October 4, 2023. Johnson was suspended on an interim basis pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9(g), pending final action on the Board on Professional Responsibility’s July 18, 2023, recommendation of disbarment,”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Johnson Jr. is a criminal defense attorney in Bowie, Maryland. He attended the University of Maryland School of Law, graduating in 1992. He acquired his law license in the District of Columbia in 1995.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.