Maryland Bar Counsel Lydia E. Lawless will step down March 17 as the state’s chief investigator and administrative prosecutor of attorney misconduct, the Attorney Grievance Commission stated Monday.
Lawless, who submitted her resignation from the AGC position last Tuesday, has served since July 2017. The commission said it will begin its search for Lawless’ successor in the coming weeks.
The bar counsel is appointed by the AGC with the approval of the Maryland Supreme Court.
“When I was appointed to lead the office in 2017, I expressed my opinion that bar counsel should serve a limited term,” Lawless said in a statement Monday.
“I am confident that I brought a fresh perspective to the role of bar counsel and that I have accomplished the goals that I set for myself and the office,” Lawless added. “I know that my successor will find ways to continue to improve upon the important work of the office and am grateful for having had the privilege of having served the commission and the people of Maryland.”
Lawless, 42, declined to comment much beyond her statement other than to say that she is “exploring opportunities” in the law in Maryland.
“A lot of thought and consideration went into this decision” to resign, Lawless added. “I didn’t come to it lightly. I’ve been thinking about it for many months.”
Lawless said she will have more to say when her final day approaches.
Linda H. Lamone, who chairs the commission, said in the same statement that she thanks Lawless “for her leadership and unrelenting dedication to the commission’s mission of protecting the public.”
“During her tenure, Lydia has made substantial improvements to the Office of Bar Counsel, all for the betterment of the people of Maryland,” Lamone added.
The 12-member Attorney Grievance Commission oversees the state’s more than 42,000 lawyers to ensure they comply with the Maryland Attorneys’ Rules of Professional Conduct.
The bar counsel’s office includes a staff of lawyers, investigators, paralegals and administrative support personnel who review the complaints of attorney misconduct that the commission receives.
Of the 1,589 complaints received last fiscal year, 303 were deemed by the commission to require investigation, according to the AGC’s most recent annual report.
The investigation can lead to a petition for disciplinary action in the Maryland Supreme Court. Nineteen attorneys were disbarred in fiscal year 2022, which ended June 30, according to the commission.