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VSB will reconsider reciprocal discipline

VSB respIs a lawyer’s sanction imposed by a Maryland federal court worthy of recognition by the Virginia State Bar, so that the same disciplinary penalty can be imposed in Virginia without a new hearing on the facts?

A VSB Disciplinary Board panel that balked at a license suspension for a Northern Virginia lawyer has agreed to take a second look at that question.

Sandy Y. Chang of Rockville, Md., was accused of allowing her law office to file falsified credit counseling certificates in bankruptcy cases. In 2012, she was suspended for one year by a Maryland U.S. district judge. The VSB sought to impose a one-year suspension of her Virginia license based on the federal court action.

The VSB Disciplinary Board rejected the suspension by a 3-2 vote in May, and the VSB asked the panel to reconsider. The decision overturned “years and years of precedent” the bar argued.

The VSB consistently has imposed reciprocal discipline based on penalties levied by federal and military tribunals. In most of those cases, however, the Disciplinary Board did not consider whether the sanctioning body was worthy of deference under the reciprocal discipline rules, Chang’s lawyer said.

The Disciplinary Board panel decided by majority vote to reconsider dismissal of the Chang case, according to an Oct. 9 order signed by panel chair Martha JP McQuade. The panel decided unanimously to hear oral argument, the order states.

The panel will hear the case on reconsideration on Dec. 19.

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