Argued: October 10, 2018
Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County Case No.
Barbera, C.J., Greene, [*] Adkins, McDonald, Watts, Hotten,
Battaglia, Lynne, A. (Senior Judge, Specially Assigned), JJ.
A. Conwell ("Conwell"), Respondent, was admitted to
the Bar of this Court on December 14, 1999. On July 24, 2017,
the Attorney Grievance Commission ("Petitioner" or
"Bar Counsel"), acting pursuant to Maryland Rule
19-721,  filed a Petition for Disciplinary or
Remedial Action against Conwell related to his representation
of Julie D. Brewington, Gino A. DeSerio, and Dennis Olsen.
The Petition alleged that Conwell violated the following
Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct ("Rule"):
1.1 (Competence),  1.2 (Scope of Representation and
Allocation of Authority between Client and Lawyer),
(Diligence),  1.4 (Communication),  1.5 (Fees),
1.16 (Declining or Terminating Representation),
(Meritorious Claims and Contentions),  3.3 (Candor
toward Tribunal),  3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and
Counsel),  8.1 (Bar Admission and Disciplinary
Matters),  and 8.4 (Misconduct).
Order dated July 25, 2017, we referred the matter to Judge
Donna M. Schaeffer of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel
County for a hearing, pursuant to Maryland Rule
19-727. Respondent was served with the Petition
for Disciplinary or Remedial Action, our Order, and the Writ
of Summons on August 28, 2017, and he filed a timely
Schaeffer held hearings on the matter on March 5 and 6, 2018.
During the hearings, Bar Counsel amended the Petition and
withdrew her allegations of violations of Rules 3.3 and 8.1
with regard to Conwell's representation of Scott Olsen.
consideration of the Petition, Respondent's Answer,
exhibits, witness testimony and arguments of counsel, Judge
Schaeffer issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.
With respect to his representation of Julie Brewington, Judge
Schaeffer concluded that Conwell violated Rules 1.3, 1.4, and
8.4(a) and (d), but not Rules 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, and 1.16. With
respect to his representation of Gino DeSerio, Judge
Schaeffer concluded that Conwell violated Rules 1.1, 1.5,
3.3(a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(4), and 8.4(a) and (d), but not
Rule 1.4. With respect to his representation of Dennis Olsen,
Judge Schaeffer concluded that Conwell violated Rules 3.1,
3.4(c), and 8.4(a), (c), and (d).
Court "has original and complete jurisdiction over
attorney discipline proceedings in Maryland."
Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Mixter, 441 Md.
416, 477, 109 A.3d 1, 38 (2015) (quoting Attorney
Grievance Comm'n v. O'Leary, 433 Md. 2, 28, 69
A.3d 1121, 1136 (2013)). Upon review, we "accept the
hearing judge's findings of fact as prima facie correct
unless shown to be clearly erroneous." Id.
(quoting Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Fader, 431
Md. 395, 426, 66 A.3d 18, 36 (2013) (additional citation
omitted)). This level of deference is warranted because the
hearing judge is better positioned than us "to assess
the demeanor-based credibility of the witnesses."
Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Framm, 449 Md. 620,
643, 144 A.3d 827, 841 (2016) (quoting Attorney Grievance
Comm'n v. Tanko, 427 Md. 15, 27, 45 A.3d 281, 288
(2012)). The hearing judge, therefore, "is permitted to
'pick and choose which evidence to rely upon' from a
conflicting array when determining findings of fact."
Id. (alteration omitted) (quoting Attorney
Grievance Comm'n v. Guida, 391 Md. 33, 50, 891 A.2d
1085, 1095 (2006)).
party has filed exceptions to the hearing judge's factual
findings; thus, we deem those factual findings established by
clear and convincing evidence. Attorney Grievance
Comm'n v. Jacobs, 459 Md. 291, 309, 185 A.3d 132,
143 (2018) (citation omitted). As to the hearing judge's
conclusions of law, when violations have been sustained and
exceptions have been filed, our consideration is de
novo. Maryland Rule 19-741(b)(1).
Bar Counsel nor Conwell filed exceptions to the hearing
judge's factual findings. Accordingly, we treat those
findings as established, Maryland Rule 19-741(b)(2)(A),
and paraphrase them for brevity.
of Julie Brewington
in the spring of 2013, Julie Brewington filed a complaint
with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") against her former employer. In
the summer of 2014, Ms. Brewington retained Conwell to
represent her in the EEOC matter, because he represented that
he practiced employment law. Around August 7, 2014, Ms.
Brewington signed a retainer agreement with Conwell and gave
him a check for $2, 500.00. The retainer agreement provided
that Conwell would file a complaint with the Maryland
Commission on Civil Rights ("Maryland Commission")
and represent her before that agency, in addition to the
scope of Conwell's employment, as set forth in the
findings of fact, derived from the retainer agreement and
described by Ms. Brewington at the hearing was that, Conwell
"[would] provide legal advice and representation"
in relation to Ms. Brewington's employment dispute and
rights with [employer]. Respondent's retainer agreement
with Ms. Brewington provided for representation in relation
to an anticipated Maryland Commission on Civil Rights 
action he proposed filing because, as Respondent testified,
"I would not want to rely on a client's pro
se filing . . . I would come in and ordinarily file a
new complaint. I normally file that with the [Maryland
Commission]." The retainer agreement . . . indicated
"[t]his is a first stage fixed fee representation
time Conwell was retained, Ms. Brewington did not know the
status of her prior pro se filing with the EEOC.
Describing the EEOC as a "black hole," Ms.
Brewington communicated to Conwell that "a year and a
half" had elapsed since her filing and that she was
concerned that she may have missed certain deadlines. In
response, Conwell informed Ms. Brewington that, "[i]f
you filed with the EEOC, you should just wait. They are a
slow government organization."
further investigation, Conwell learned that, "due to the
passage of time before he had been hired," he would not
be able to "file anything on new allegations with"
the Maryland Commission or EEOC. He communicated to Ms.
Brewington that they would need to rely on what she had
filed, and based on his "knowledge of employment
law," concluded that the statute of limitations had
expired with regard to filing with the Maryland Commission.
Schaeffer also found, in part, that,
Respondent exchanged emails with Ms. Brewington during the
representation in which he provided her legal advice about
the significance of the [statutory filing deadlines] and
provided her with legal advice explaining that because this
time period had passed they needed to rely upon what she had
previously filed. In sum, during the course of representing
Ms. Brewington, Respondent and Ms. Brewington exchanged
emails in which Respondent sought information from Ms.
Brewington and provided her with legal advice. According to
Ms. Brewington, "there were hundreds of emails"
between her and the Respondent.
Bar Counsel contended that Conwell failed to enter his
appearance on behalf of Ms. Brewington with the EEOC, Judge
Schaeffer was unable to find that "to be the case by
clear and convincing evidence." In so finding, Judge
Schaeffer relied on an email correspondence between Conwell
and Ms. Brewington in which he sent the entry of appearance
to her for signature and email correspondence between Conwell
and the EEOC, in which the EEOC referred to Ms. Brewington as
Schaeffer further found that Conwell "advanced" Ms.
Brewington's "causes and claims in some
respects." For example, Judge Schaeffer found that he
"analyzed the facts and reached a legal conclusion"
regarding whether Ms. Brewington could file new, or amend
previous, complaints with either the EEOC or Maryland
Commission. She further found that Conwell informed Ms.
Brewington of her legal rights and "advised her that her
EEOC claim was still viable, that it had not been dismissed
and that there was no deadline preventing that claim from
proceeding." Judge Schaeffer also detailed other steps
Conwell took in the early period of his representation of Ms.
Brewington, such as exchanging emails with individuals from
the EEOC, communicating with the EEOC supervisor, and
questioning Ms. Brewington's former employer.
Schaeffer also found, however, "that after the initial
few months of representing Ms. Brewington, [Conwell's]
work on the case became sporadic and his communications with
his client erratic." Ms. Brewington testified that she
began to feel neglected in her representation due to
Conwell's inconsistent replies to her emails and lack of
certainty when asked on the phone about the status of her
case. Further, on May 31, 2015, June 3, 2015, and August 10,
2015, Ms. Brewington requested that Conwell send her a copy
of the letter he purportedly drafted to send to opposing
counsel, but she never received a copy of it; Judge
Schaeffer, in fact, found there was "no evidence that
the Respondent ever drafted such a letter." Judge
Schaeffer also found that Conwell had not communicated with
opposing counsel until a year into his representation of Ms.
Brewington. While there may have been lapses in
communication, Judge Schaeffer, nevertheless, ultimately
concluded that it was not proven that these lapses caused Ms.
Brewington to "miss any deadlines or lose any legal
Brewington ultimately terminated the representation. She sent
Conwell a certified letter, dated August 10, 2015, informing
him, but the letter was later returned to Ms. Brewington, as
Conwell never signed for it. Twice, on August 20 and 25,
2015, respectively, Ms. Brewington emailed Conwell informing
him of her intent to terminate the representation. In each
communication, Ms. Brewington requested a refund of the
retainer fee she had paid Conwell. Conwell, however, refused
and also failed to provide Ms. Brewington an accounting or a
copy of her client file.
September 14, 2015, Ms. Brewington filed a complaint with Bar
Counsel. Judge Schaeffer found that Conwell failed to respond
to Bar Counsel's request for a copy of Ms.
Brewington's client file.
of Gino and Gina DeSerio
Conwell's representation of the DeSerios, Judge
Schaeffer, by clear and convincing evidence, made the
following factual findings.
24, 2014, Gino DeSerio, and his sister, Gina DeSerio,
retained Conwell to represent Mr. DeSerio in an action to
modify a preexisting Child Custody Order between Mr. DeSerio
and his child's mother, a Florida resident. On July 24,
2014, the DeSerios met with Conwell and entered into a
retainer agreement. The agreement stated that Conwell would
charge an hourly rate of $375.00 and that the DeSerios would
pay a $2, 500.00 retainer fee, so that Conwell would
represent Mr. DeSerio in his child custody battle. In return,
Conwell would "send [the DeSerios] periodic invoices
setting forth the amount of the fees." The retainer
agreement further specified:
In the event that a dispute arises regarding services
(included but not limited to malpractice), fees or costs, you
will notify our firm within thirty (30) days after the
dispute arises. Should the dispute not be resolved, you agree
to submit any such disputes to binding arbitration before a
neutral arbitrator in the City of Annapolis, Maryland.
28, 2014, August 26, 2014, August 27, 2014, and September 13,
2014, Conwell submitted a series of filings on Mr.
DeSerio's behalf with the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel
County. Those filings included: an Emergency Petition to
Modify and Change Custody of Minor Child and Motion to
Shorten Time; a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment Re:
Petition to Modify and Change Custody of Minor Child and a
Request for a Hearing; a Line Re: Docket Entry Describing a
Petition for Contempt and Objections to the Master's
Report and Recommendation; Petitioner's Notification of
Withdrawal of "Emergency" and Expedited Relief
Motions; and a Line Re: Petitioner's Motion for Partial
Summary Judgment. Judge Schaeffer, however, found that these
filings "were not supported by fact or law and failed to
advance Mr. DeSerio's case." She further found that
the trial judge in the original case, in ruling on each
filing, concluded that the issues presented therein were
either not ripe or otherwise not actionable.
September 2014, Ms. DeSerio received an invoice from Conwell
reflecting an outstanding balance of $11, 560.00. Judge
Schaeffer found the "majority of the fees charged by
Respondent were unreasonable, as the services he performed
had little to no value and failed to advance Mr.
DeSerio's case in any way whatsoever." Judge
Schaeffer further found that, as evidenced by this invoice,
Conwell had "failed to timely communicate with the
DeSerio[s] regarding the status of their retainer and
escalating fees." Conwell and the DeSerios, however,
subsequently, agreed that the DeSerios "would make
monthly payments of $500 toward the outstanding balance[,
]" of which they made three of between September 26,
2014 and November 26, 2014, resulting in an amount paid of
$1, 500 plus the retainer fee. Eventually, communication
between Conwell and the DeSerios deteriorated, and their
legal relationship was eventually terminated. Upon retaining
new counsel, the DeSerios "obtained a modification of
the custody order" in Mr. DeSerio's favor
"within six months."
March 20, 2015, Conwell filed a breach of contract action in
the District Court of Anne Arundel County against the
DeSerios, alleging that they owed him $11, 110.00 in unpaid
attorney's fees. On May 3, 2015, the DeSerios filed a
complaint with Bar Counsel. Subsequently, on May 19, 2015,
Conwell requested a jury trial in his collection case against
the DeSerios, but his request was denied, because his claim
did not exceed $15, 000.
then filed an amended complaint on May 29, 2015, again in the
District Court, requesting a jury trial for the second time.
The complaint was accompanied with an invoice detailing
"his fees and costs associated with collection efforts
against" the DeSerios. The alleged amount owed on the
invoice was $16, 533.50, thus exceeding the $15, 000
threshold for requesting a jury trial. On October 17, 2016,
Conwell's complaint against the DeSerios was consensually
dismissed, and Conwell refunded the DeSerios the $4, 000 they
had paid him.
further deciphering this chain of events, Judge Schaeffer,
finding a "review of the May 29, 2015 Invoice helpful[,
[a]s previously stated, the May 29, 2015 Invoice indicated
that as of March 20, 2015, the filing date of his Verified
Complaint, the Respondent had billed 7.3 hours on his
collection efforts against the DeSerios, not the 4.3 hours
alleged in the Respondent's Verified Complaint or his
Verified Complaint (First Amended) filed on April 14, 2015.
According to the May 29, 2015 Invoice, as of April 14, 2015
(the filing date of his Verified Complaint (First Amended))
Respondent had actually billed 11.4 hours on his collection
efforts against the DeSerios. Thus, Respondent billed 7.1
hours between the filing of Respondent's original
Verified Complaint and the First Amended Complaint. In total,
the May 29, 2015 Invoice reflected that Respondent's firm
billed 45 hours ($16, 553.50) for the collection efforts on
an $11, 110.00 debt.
Judge Schaeffer found the numbers reflected in Conwell's
invoice for 45 hours to be "greatly inflated and
unreasonable." She concluded her findings, as to the
representation of the DeSerios, stating
[i]f Respondent was as busy as he advised Ms. Brewington he
was on April 9, 2015, he and his staff would likely not have
had forty-five hours to expend on an $11, 110.00 collection
case. This court further finds that Respondent inflated the
May 29th Invoice in an attempt to increase the
amount in controversy to meet the requirements of a jury
trial prayer, to recover unreasonable and unnecessary
attorney's fees and/or to gain negotiating leverage in
collecting the alleged underlying debt under the terms of the
of Dennis Olsen
October 2011, Dennis Olsen retained Conwell to represent him
in some real estate matters. Mr. Olsen, upon conclusion of
those real estate matters, retained Conwell to represent him
in a divorce proceeding against his wife; Mr. Olsen and his
wife later reconciled, however, and voluntarily dismissed the
divorce complaint. Following "the conclusion of these
two representations," Conwell posited that Mr. Olsen
"owed [him] an outstanding balance of approximately $37,
580.00 for legal services." Conwell filed an
attorney's lien for that amount "on and against any
settlement, judgment or award, and against [Mr. Olsen's]
marital property in the [divorce matter.]" On November
4, 2014, however, Mr. Olsen filed for bankruptcy in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of
California. The following day, Conwell informed Mr.
Olsen of the attorney's lien he had recently filed
Olsen filed a list of creditors holding "unsecured
nonpriority claims in his bankruptcy case[, ]" listing
Conwell "as a debtor with a claim of $35, 000." In
turn, Conwell filed a Proof of Claim in the Bankruptcy Court,
claiming Mr. Olsen owed his firm a secured debt of $51,
329.50. He additionally filed two motions in Maryland Circuit
Court in "an attempt to enforce his attorney's
lien." On December 8, 2015, the Circuit Court
denied Conwell's motions to enforce the liens. On January
7, 2016, as a result, Conwell filed a Notice of Appeal with
the Court of Special Appeals.
previously closed Mr. Olsen's bankruptcy matter, the
Bankruptcy Court, in 2016, reopened his case "for the
purpose of allowing [Mr. Olsen] to file a Motion for Contempt
and Sanctions against [Conwell] for Violation of the
Automatic Stay and Discharge Injunction." Conwell
received notice of the motion. On April 6, 2016, Mr. Olsen
filed a "Motion for Order to Show Cause Why Scott
Conwell, Esq. Should Not be Held in Contempt for Violation of
the Discharge Injunction in the Bankruptcy Court."
Conwell received notice of the motion through the Bankruptcy
Court's electronic filing system. Nearly
contemporaneously, on April 8, 2016, the Court of Special
Appeals ordered Conwell "to provide transcripts to the
Court in accordance with Maryland Rule 8-411 in furtherance
of his appeal."
April 14, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court ordered Conwell "to
reply to Mr. Olsen's Motion to Show Cause no later than
two weeks from the date of the Order and to appear for a show
cause hearing on May 24, 2016." Again, Conwell received
timely electronic notice of this order, but failed to
respond. Conwell also failed to appear at the Show Cause
hearing on May 24, 2016. As a result, at the hearing,
[t]he Bankruptcy Court found that Respondent "got notice
of the discharge and, therefore he clearly willfully violated
the discharge injunction" by attempting to enforce his
attorney's liens in Maryland. The Bankruptcy Court [also]
found [Conwell] in contempt and entered an Order so
indicating . . . . The Bankruptcy Court further ordered that
Respondent "cease and desist any and all actions related
to the creation and/or enforcement of Attorney's liens
against [Mr. Olsen]'s assets, including the dismissal of
the appeal." The Bankruptcy Court ordered the Respondent
to pay damages in the amount of $31, 279.10 to Mr. Olsen plus
$30, 000 in punitive damages within thirty days of the
signing of the Order, which occurred on September 12, 2016.
October 17, 2016, despite the Bankruptcy Court's Order,
Conwell filed a Motion for Extension to File Appellant's
Brief in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Conwell,
however, "never filed his brief, and ultimately, on
December 20, 2016[, ]" his appeal was dismissed
"pursuant to Md. Rule 8-602(a)(7) for failure to file a
brief or record extract."
Schaeffer concluded her findings of fact, with respect to the
Olsen representation, by stating, "Respondent admits he
did not cease and desist any and all actions related to the
enforcement of his attorney's lien against Mr.
review recommended conclusions of law without deference to
the hearing judge. Attorney Grievance Comm'n v.
Woolery, 456 Md. 483, 494175 A.3d 129, 136 (2017). In
the course of that review, we consider any exceptions filed
by the parties.
to Ms. Brewington
respect to Conwell's representation of Ms. Brewington,
Judge Schaeffer, after analyzing the facts described above,
concluded that he violated Rules 1.3, 1.4, and Rule 8.4(a)
and (d), but not Rules 1.1, 1.2, 1.5, and 1.16. Bar Counsel
took no exceptions to these conclusions. Conwell, however,
excepted to Judge Schaeffer's conclusion that Rule 8.4(d)
had been violated. In his "Exceptions and
Recommendations Concerning Disposition" filing, Conwell
explicitly states that he "does not except to the
circuit court's Rule 1.3 and 1.4" conclusions, and
as such, we accept those Rule violations as proven. Conwell
specifically argues, however, that his "lack of
diligence and communication" cannot support a Rule
excepts to Judge Schaeffer's conclusion that he violated
Rule 8.4(d) when he failed to appropriately communicate with
Ms. Brewington about the status of her case and failed to
diligently pursue her claims. Conwell posits that because Ms.
Brewington did not miss any deadlines or lose any legal
rights as a result of his inaction, Rule 1.3 and 1.4
violations, which do not prejudice the administration of
justice or bring the legal profession into disrepute, cannot
support a Rule 8.4(d) violation.
[An attorney's] failure to promptly, completely and
truthfully respond to Bar Counsel's requests for
information, to keep his client advised of the status of the
representation and to diligently represent the complainant
constitutes conduct which tends to bring the legal profession
into disrepute and is therefore prejudicial to the
administration of justice.
Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Kirwan, 450 Md.
447, 462-63, 149 A.3d 561, 570 (2016) (quoting Attorney
Grievance Comm'n v. Brown, 426 Md. 298, 324-25, 44
A.3d 344, 360 (2012) (internal citation omitted)); see
also Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Rose, 391 Md. 101,
111, 892 A.2d 469, 475 (2006) (concluding that Rule 8.4(d)
was violated where attorney failed to keep client advised of
the status of the representation and to diligently represent
client's interests, conduct "which tends to bring
the legal profession into disrepute and is therefore
prejudicial to the administration of justice").
Furthermore, while not every unnecessary delay or failure to
carry out duties expeditiously violates the rule prohibiting
conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, a
"repeated failure to communicate with clients (or
others) that impairs the discharge of the attorney's
duties in a case can violate [Rule 8.4(d)]."
Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Smith, 442 Md. 14,
31, 109 A.3d 1184, 1194 (2015). "An attorney may also
violate [Rule 8.4(d)] when the attorney's conduct
'reflects negatively on the legal profession and sets a
bad example for the public at large.'" Id.
(quoting Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Brady, 422
Md. 441, 460, 30 A.3d 902, 913 (2011) (internal citations
Attorney Grievance Comm'n v. Barnett, 440 Md.
254, 102 A.3d 310 (2014), we held that the Respondent,
Barnett, violated Rule 8.4(d), based in part on his failure
to notify a client of scheduled hearing dates and to
communicate with her for at least ten months during the
representation, conduct which also supported the conclusions
that Rules 1.3 and 1.4 had also been violated. 440 Md. at
268, 102 A.3d at 318. As such, we found that
"Barnett's actions violated [the client's] trust
and her reasonable expectation that Barnett would diligently
and honestly represent her interests. Such misconduct
negatively impacts the public's perception of the legal
profession." Id.; see also Attorney
Grievance Comm'n v. Bleecker, 414 Md. 147, 175, 994
A.2d 928, 944 (2010) (concluding a Rule 8.4(d) violation
where attorney failed to promptly notify client and advise
her to seek advice of independent counsel regarding a
malpractice action, which "seriously impair[ed] public
confidence in the entire profession").
Schaeffer concluded that Conwell's "conduct taken as
a whole, in particular his lack of initiative and his seeming
disinterest in Ms. Brewington's case after the initial
few months of representation, brings the legal profession
into disrepute in violation of Rule 8.4(d)." We agree
that Conwell's failure to respond to Ms. Brewington's
repeated requests for information and his lack of diligence
in her representation amounted to a Rule 8.4(d) violation.
Conwell's failure to keep Ms. Brewington reasonably
informed about the status of her matter coupled with his
failure to respond to her reasonable requests for information
provides a sufficient basis to overrule his exception, as the
"misconduct negatively impacts the public's
perception of the legal profession." See
Barnett, 440 Md. at 268, 102 A.3d at 318.
avers that, despite his lapses in communication and
diligence, his conduct was not prejudicial to the
administration of justice, as Ms. Brewington did not miss any
deadlines or lose any legal rights due to his shortcomings.
For support, Conwell relies on Attorney Grievance
Comm'n v. Rand, 411 Md. 83, 981 A.2d 1234 (2009). In
that case, we sustained Rand's exception to a Rule 8.4(d)
violation because, based on our de novo review,
Rand's failure to timely return records, without any
explanation to opposing counsel, and the retention of the
records in violation of an agreement between the parties was
not conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice. 411
Md. at 95, 981 A.2d at 1242. Rand is distinguishable
from the instant case, however, because here Conwell's
failure to inform Ms. Brewington about her case and his
failure to respond to her repeated requests for information
as to the status of her case violated Rules 1.3 and 1.4,
which supports the 8.4(d) violation, according to our
we agree with Judge Schaeffer's conclusion and overrule
to the DeSerios
respect to Conwell's representation of the DeSerios,
Judge Schaeffer concluded that Conwell violated Rules 1.1,
1.5, Rule 3.3(a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(4), and Rule 8.4(a) and
(d), but not Rule 1.4. Bar Counsel excepts to the hearing
court's failure to conclude a Rule 1.4 violation. Conwell
excepts to the hearing court's conclusion that he
violated Rules 1.1, 1.5, 3.3(a)(1), (a)(2), (a)(4) and 8.4(a)
Counsel excepts to Judge Schaeffer's conclusion that
Conwell did not violate Rule 1.4. Bar Counsel posits that
throughout his representation of the DeSerios, Conwell failed
to keep them apprised of their escalating legal fees, and as
such, this failure to communicate violated Rule 1.4. While
Judge Schaeffer found that Conwell failed "to promptly
advise the DeSerios that their retainer had been exhausted
and further work would result in additional fees," she
was unable to conclude that Rule 1.4 was violated ...