On Thursday, August 24, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals disbarred attorney Robert P. Waldeck for reckless misappropriation and multiple violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The disbarment was recommended by the Board on Professional Responsibility and was supported by the court’s review of the record.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Robert P. Waldeck,” with case no. 23-BG-0542.
The charges cited District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.3(a), 1.3(b)(1), 1.3(b)(2), 1.3(c), 1.4(a), 1.15(a)(b)(e), 1.16(d), and 8.4(c)(d) which states:
Respondent failed to represent a client zealously and diligently within the bounds of the law.
Respondent intentionally failed to seek the lawful objectives of a client through reasonably available means permitted by law and the disciplinary rules.
Respondent intentionally prejudiced or damaged a client during the course of the professional relationship.
Respondent failed to act with reasonable promptness in representing a client.
Respondent failed to keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly complied with reasonable requests for information.
Respondent failed to take timely steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests and failed to return unearned fees.
Respondent engaged in conduct that seriously interfered with the administration of justice.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
On June 28, 2023, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility recommended the disbarment of attorney Waldeck for mismanaging client funds and making false statements to his clients regarding their accounts. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals initiated formal disciplinary proceedings against Robert P. Waldeck based on a set of specified charges. These charges encompass various instances of professional misconduct primarily revolving around his handling of client funds and cases. The initial charge pertains to an overdraft detected in his IOLTA account, which is designated for client funds. Mr. Waldeck failed to furnish complete financial records, mishandled client funds, and provided misleading information to his clients regarding their finances.
The second charge centers on his improper treatment of a fee payment received from a client. He neglected to segregate the funds, failed to regard them as the property of the client, and neglected to obtain proper consent for an alternate arrangement. The third charge relates to his deficient diligence and communication with a client regarding their case, ultimately resulting in harm to the client’s interests. Similar to the third charge, the fourth charge pertains to a different client who experienced a loss of contact with Mr. Waldeck and encountered delays in the progression of their case. The fifth charge concerns his failure to advocate for a client with zeal and diligence, leading to the client missing an important appeal deadline. The sixth and final charge addresses another client with whom he severed communication after voluntarily dismissing the case, without taking subsequent action or demonstrating progress.
The Ad Hoc Committee subsequently issued a report and recommendation, affirming that the Disciplinary Counsel presented clear and compelling evidence indicating that the respondent recklessly mishandled funds.
As no exceptions have been submitted, and given that disbarment is the suitable penalty for reckless misappropriation, especially when considering Waldeck’s numerous additional infractions stemming from his abandonment of multiple clients, the court concurred with the recommendation for Waldeck’s disbarment.
The Disposition states:
“ORDERED that respondent Robert P. Waldeck is hereby disbarred from the practice of law in this jurisdiction. Respondent’s attention is 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. Waldeck was an employment and labor attorney in Washington, District of Columbia. He is the owner of the Law Firm Robert P. Waldeck PLLC. He acquired his law license in D.C. in 2006.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.