On Thursday, August 10, 2023, the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel of the District of Columbia issued an informal admonition to attorney Kodwo Ewusi for his failure to provide a written fee agreement and for withholding a permanent resident card until the client settled an outstanding invoice.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Kodwo Ewusi, Esq.,” with case no. 2022-D071.

The charges cited District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct Rules 1.5(b) and 5.3(a). Rule 1.5(b).

The District of Columbia Bar issued an Informal Admonition to attorney Kodwo Ewusi following an investigation into his conduct. The letter highlighted violations of ethical standards as outlined in the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct. The admonition was issued under D.C. Bar Rule XI, §§ 3, 6, and 8, signifying a measure of discipline for Ewusi’s actions.

The investigation had stemmed from a client complaint alleging that Ewusi had failed to provide a written fee agreement and withheld a permanent resident card (green card) until the client settled an outstanding invoice. The client hired Ewusi in November 2020 for assistance with a marriage-based application for permanent resident status. The informal admonition indicated that Ewusi had admitted to not providing a written fee agreement to the client, despite receiving an initial payment of $1,000. The client’s permanent resident application was submitted on January 5, 2021, and the decision notice was received on March 31, 2022. Following this, the client’s green card had been withheld by Ewusi’s office until her outstanding balance was cleared.

The letter states:

“You admit that you never provided your client a written fee agreement establishing the basis and rate of your fee; however, she paid you $1,000 to begin the representation and, on January 5, 2021, you submitted her completed application for permanent resident status. On March 31, 2022, your office received your client’s decision notice and permanent resident card.”

The letter continues:

“That same day, your office manager, a non-lawyer, emailed the client and asked her to, “[L]iaise with the accounting department and clear all outstanding Legal Fees with Fibi Law Firm to prevent any delays in sending [her] documents.” Your client filed a complaint with our office after your operations manager refused to send her her green card before she paid her entire remaining balance.”

In response to the complaint, Ewusi stated that he was unaware of his office having received the client’s green card or its being withheld; however, his operations manager included him in the March 31st email to the client. After learning of the client’s complaint with this office, Ewusi directed his operations manager to send the client her green card, which she finally received on April 29, 2022.

Ewusi accepted responsibility for his actions and cooperated with the investigation. As part of the resolution, Ewusi had agreed to undergo a Practice Management Assessment through the Practice Management Advisory Service. Failure to complete this assessment within one year would nullify the said informal admonition, potentially leading to formal disciplinary proceedings.

The issuance of the informal admonition emphasized the importance of ethical conduct and proper supervision within legal practice, reflecting the commitment of the District of Columbia Bar to maintaining professional standards and accountability.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Ewusi is the founder of Fibi Law Firm, which was created to solve the problem of assisting immigrants to live and work legally in the United States. He currently practices in various areas of immigration law, encompassing employment-based immigration, family-based immigration, asylum cases, deportation defense, and criminal deportation defense.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.