Stephen L. Snyder has his law license back.
The federally indicted medical malpractice lawyer has been reinstated to the Maryland bar as of late Friday, when the state Supreme Court agreed to lift the suspension Snyder first consented to in October 2020.
Chief Justice Matthew J. Fader wrote that a majority of the justices agreed there was no basis to continue Snyder’s suspension.
“I’m emotionally thrilled to have been reinstated to the practice of law,” Snyder told The Daily Record. “I have always treasured my license and can’t wait to get started again.”
Snyder has not been convicted of a crime. He is accused in federal court of threatening to embarrass the University of Maryland Medical System if it didn’t offer him a $25 million consulting deal that federal prosecutors say was a sham and an attempt at extortion.
Snyder agreed to the temporary suspension of his law license when he was first indicted. But the federal case has dragged on since 2020, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving Snyder without the ability to practice law for far longer than he intended, he said in requesting his suspension be ended.
Snyder asked to be reinstated earlier this month. In his motion, Snyder said the protracted legal battle hurt his finances and forced him to draw on his savings and retirement assets to pay for his defense. Without his law license, Snyder was unable to work to replenish that money, he said.
UMMS officials contacted federal authorities after Snyder offered the $25 million consulting deal in 2018. The alleged extortion attempt took place during settlement talks with UMMS on behalf of one of Snyder’s clients, a woman whose husband died, allegedly because of a botched transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Prosecutors say that Snyder coupled the request with a threat to publicly expose problems with the hospital’s transplant program, including by going to the news media or airing self-produced videos about the issues he claimed to have discovered.
“I don’t care if I don’t do anything (for the money),” Snyder said, according to the indictment. The deal would ensure that Snyder was “conflicted out” of future lawsuits against UMMS.
Snyder has denied the charges and argued that the consultancy offer was a real effort to reach a deal with UMMS. A motion to dismiss the indictment is pending in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
The case remains on hold while an appeal is before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Details of the appeal are sealed, but court records indicate that it is related to grand jury subpoenas.
Sndyer’s motion for reinstatement portrays the case against him as part of an effort by UMMS to “neutralize” him because of his years of medical malpractice litigation against the hospital system.
Snyder said in the motion that he made multiple attempts to ensure the consulting deal was legitimate, including seeking advice from Andrew J. Graham, a Baltimore attorney who handles ethics issues. UMMS declined to meet with Graham at the urging of federal prosecutors, Snyder’s motion claims.
Several months before Snyder was indicted, Maryland Bar Counsel filed a petition for discipline against him based on a complaint from UMMS, which also provided reports to state and federal prosecutors.
Once he was indicted in October 2020, Snyder agreed to the temporary suspension of his law license so that he could focus on defending against the criminal charges.
Snyder said he believed his criminal case would end quickly, in part because he felt his efforts to get UMMS officials to meet with Graham showed a lack of criminal intent to extort the hospital system, according to his motion for reinstatement.
Bar Counsel did not take a position on Snyder’s request for reinstatement.
Oral argument in Snyder’s federal appeal is scheduled for the week of March 7-10.