On Tuesday, September 5, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility issued a report and recommendation of disbarment in the matter of attorney Matthew A. LeFande, a temporarily suspended member of the Bar of the District of Columbia. The report and recommendation followed a hearing held on January 17, 2023, at which disciplinary counsel proved violations of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Matthew A. Lefande,” with case no. 22-BD-024.
The charges cited District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct 3.1, 3.4(c), 8.4(b)(d).
The allegations against LeFande arose from his conduct in two different client matters. In the first matter, LeFande represented Anita Warren and her son, Timothy Day, in litigation brought by District Title and in other related matters. The dispute with District Title began when, in connection with the July 2014 sale of property formerly owned by Ms. Warren, the company erroneously transferred $293,514.44 to her personal bank account instead of to her mortgage lender. District Title asked Ms. Warren to return the funds, but she refused and instead transferred the money to Mr. Day and other individuals.
LeFande filed a bankruptcy petition on Ms. Warren’s behalf in Maryland that was dismissed by the court as frivolous. His interactions with the personal representative of Ms. Warren’s estate following her death were alleged to be in bad faith.
In the second matter, LeFande’s filings in his representation of Teondra Sims in a bankruptcy matter in the District of Columbia were found by the bankruptcy court to be frivolous and in bad faith.
The disciplinary counsel contends that LeFande committed all the charges and should be disbarred, or at least suspended for three years with a requirement to prove fitness before reinstatement. The hearing committee found that disciplinary counsel had proven violations of D.C. Rules by clear and convincing evidence. The hearing committee recommended that LeFande be disbarred.
The report and recommendation of the hearing committee were based on the testimony and documentary evidence admitted at the hearing, which established that LeFande had indeed violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. The hearing committee found that LeFande’s crime was not one of moral turpitude, and accordingly, did not impose the additional sanction of proving fitness before reinstatement.
The filing states:
“We are of the view that this is such a case. Respondent was on a mission to hide his knowledge about the funds stolen from District Title, and he did not care how many lies he told, how many court processes he disrupted, or how disrespectful he was of the rule of law. He should not be allowed to practice law again. No judge, opposing counsel, or member of the public could ever rely on anything he wrote or said.”
Despite the complexity of the case, the committee stressed the need for an objective analysis of the merits of the allegations. The outcome of this investigation carried significant implications for Ledande’s career and standing in the legal community.
The recommendation states:
“For the foregoing reasons, the Committee finds that Respondent violated D.C. Rules 3.1, 8.4(b) and 8.4(d) and Maryland Rules 19-303.1, 19-308.4(c) and 19-308.4(d), and should receive the sanction of disbarment. We further recommend that the Respondent’s attention be directed to the requirements of D.C. Bar R. XI, 14, and their effect on eligibility for reinstatement. See D.C. Bar R. XI, 16(c).”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Lafande is an administrative law attorney in Arlington, Virginia. He acquired his law license in the District of Columbia in 2002.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.