Legal Ethics

Ex-BigLaw associate who moonlighted, inflated his title gets tougher sanction in Maryland than DC

A former BigLaw associate accused of inflating his title, charging personal expenses to his firm and moonlighting without permission is getting a stiffer ethics sanction in Maryland than in Washington, D.C.

Garland Stillwell, a former associate at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, received a 60-day suspension for the misconduct in a 2009 Washington, D.C., disciplinary opinion. But the Maryland Court Appeals imposed a six-month suspension for the same conduct in an opinion (PDF) issued last week. The Legal Profession Blog notes the increase.

According to stipulations of fact, Stillwell:

• Identified himself as a senior counsel at Pillsbury Winthrop on a biography with a real estate association, though he was employed as an associate. He didn’t immediately correct the information after a warning by the firm in 2008.

• Charged personal expenses to the law firm and to a client.

• Launched an outside real estate venture without obtaining the firm’s permission, and used law firm computers and the word processing department to draft documents for his business.

• Used word processing staffers at the firm to prepare a resumé‎ for a friend stating she had worked at the firm for nearly two years, when she was actually employed there for only two weeks. He identified himself as a senior counsel on the friend’s resumé‎. He also used the firm’s computer equipment to prepare and send an employment verification for the friend to a car dealer that also inflated the length of her employment.

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