Rudy Giuliani has never been one to shy away from the public eye. In light of his recent interim suspension from the New York Bar, he has certainly been getting all the publicity he can handle. Indeed, it appears he’s trying to prove the truth of the old axiom that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
More bad publicity came his way on July 7, 2021, when the District of Columbia Court of Appeals suspended him from practice. In a bare-bones order, the Court declared that “on consideration of a certified copy of an order of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, suspending [Mr. Giuliani] from the practice of law pending further disciplinary proceedings in that state,” it was ordering him suspended from practice in the District of Columbia “pending final disposition of [the District of Columbia’s own disciplinary] proceeding, effective on the date of entry of this order.” The Court further ordered the District of Columbia disciplinary proceeding stayed pending final disposition of the disciplinary proceeding in New York. As in New York, this supposedly interim suspension is likely to last awhile.
Some may ask why Mr. Giuliani got suspended when the District of Columbia Disciplinary Counsel’s office recently refused to even consider a complaint against former Attorney General William Barr. The answer is easy. Under the D.C. Bar Rules, Mr. Giuliani was granted reciprocal admission in the District of Columbia based on his admission in New York. Once Mr. Giuliani’s admission in New York was taken away, even temporarily, he became ineligible to continue practicing in the District of Columbia.
The more general take-away for practitioners is that a disciplinary sanction in one jurisdiction has a cascading effect on the disciplined lawyer’s admission in other jurisdictions. Lawyers have to be aware that if they are disciplined in any jurisdiction, even one in which they are admitted pro hac vice, that can become the basis for discipline in all other jurisdictions in which they are admitted, with very few defenses available. Mr. Giuliani is finding that out the hard way.
"[A] disciplinary sanction in one jurisdiction has a cascading effect on the disciplined lawyer’s admission in other jurisdictions."