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Lawyer who ignored suspension agrees to surrender license

A Virginia lawyer who continued to practice law even though his license was administratively suspended for nearly two and a half years has agreed to disbarment.

The lawyer’s actions caused his Washington-based firm to be disqualified from representing a medical malpractice plaintiff in Norfolk this year. The Norfolk judge also ordered a fee award of more than $55,000.

Brian K. Snyder admitted to false statements and agreed to revocation of his license in an affidavit submitted to the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board. The board revoked Snyder’s license Nov. 1.

Snyder had claimed he was unaware his license was suspended for lapses in education hours.  Norfolk Circuit Judge Joseph A. Migliozzi Jr. was unpersuaded.

“The Court is befuddled at how Mr. Snyder could go through two October cycles without becoming aware of the status of his professional law license,” Migliozzi wrote in a Jan. 20 opinion. “[T]o ask the Court to believe that an attorney did not know for two years that his license was administratively suspended is foolhardy,” the judge added.

Migliozzi’s opinion is Channell v. Pariser Dermatology Specialists (VLW 021-8-013).

The VSB investigated two bar complaints alleging that Snyder had made false statements about his knowledge of his license status, according to the affidavit consenting to revocation. The complaint said Snyder falsely stated in the Norfolk case that he did not know of the suspension, or even that a license could be suspended for MCLE noncompliance.

Snyder stuck by those statements in the bar investigation, according to the affidavit. Nevertheless, Snyder admitted in the affidavit that his actions violated rules against knowingly making false statements, making false statements to a tribunal and unauthorized practice of law.

While suspended from 2018 through 2020, Snyder reportedly communicated with opposing counsel, settled cases and held himself as fully licensed. He appeared as counsel of record in “dozens of court proceedings in more than 20 circuit courts and two general district courts,” the affidavit said.

Snyder is listed as licensed in good standing with the D.C. Bar, but the D.C. Bar has procedures for reciprocal discipline.