Washington Lawyer

Celebrating Gene Shipp's 35 Years in Discipline

From Washington Lawyer, December 2015

Photo by Mick Wiggins

The year was 1980. The president of the United States was Jimmy Carter. The mayor of the District of Columbia was the late Marion Barry. And the bar counsel for the District of Columbia was the late Fred Grabowsky. Thirty-five years ago, Grabowsky hired a
"5th Street" solo practitioner, Wallace "Gene" Shipp Jr., as an assistant bar counsel and the rest, as they say, is history.

Since then, Gene has committed his career to advancing legal ethics, disciplinary enforcement, and lawyer professionalism. After serving for several years as an assistant bar counsel, he became the deputy bar counsel in 1983 and, since 2004, has served
as bar counsel. Gene is a true champion of making improvements to lawyer
regulation and protecting the public.

On October 6, 2015, Gene celebrated his 35th anniversary in attorney discipline. In those 35 years,he has accomplished so much! From 1992 to 1993, Gene served as president of the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), a nonprofit organization whose members (both in the United States and abroad) work in the regulation of the practice of law, including lawyer and judicial discipline, legal and judicial ethics and education, the promotion of professionalism, and the unauthorized practice of law. The NOBC also serves as a forum for its members to exchange information and policy views on attorney regulation. In 2002 Gene received the NOBC's highest honor—the President's Award—in recognition of his dedication and service to the profession.

Gene's ability to connect with people and his tireless efforts to "get it right" have not gone unrecognized by his peers. In 2008 he was named one of the Champions of the Bar by the Legal Times. Gene is well respected both locally and on a national level. He is very active in the American Bar Association and was elected an ABA Fellow in 1998. He has served on the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection, the Policy Implementation Committee, and the ABA/BNA Editorial Board of the Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct.

Gene also served as a liaison between the NOBC and the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20. [1] With Gene's common-sense approach, he helped the commission make several policy recommendations that later were adopted by the ABA House of Delegates. Gene now is at the forefront of issues related to international lawyer regulation and proactive risk-based regulation. He believes that self-regulation comes with a huge responsibility to ensure the public's confidence in the legal profession. He's often quoted as saying "self-regulation is ours to lose."

With that in mind, Gene continues to take on the responsibility of teaching lawyers everywhere about their ethical duties—providing countless hours of training for lawyers at various federal agencies and teaching the monthly Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice for new admittees to the D.C. Bar. As of this writing, Gene has proudly taught the course to over 60,000 of the 102,000 members of the D.C. Bar.Gene has taught approximately 180 Mandatory Courses for the D.C. Bar.

Gene also has served as adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law, at The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, and at the George Washington University Law School. He lectures frequently to local lawyer and public interest groups, nationally at the NOBC and ABA conferences, and internationally as well.

Gene's longstanding commitment to lawyers and the profession is truly remarkable. So for all that he does, we want to take a moment to thank our Fearless Leader, Gene Shipp, and to wish him a Happy 35th!


Dolores Dorsainvil is a senior staff attorney with the Office of Bar Counsel.

Note [1] Created by then ABA President Carolyn B. Lamm in 2009, the commission performed a thorough review of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the U.S. system of lawyer regulation in the context of advances in technology and global legal practice developments. Several of the commission's proposed amendments to the Model Rules have been adopted.

Disciplinary Actions Taken by the Board on Professional Responsibility

 Original Matters

IN RE RONALD L. CHASEN. Bar No. 164426. September 11, 2015. The Board on Professional Responsibility recommends that the D.C. Court of Appeals disbar Chasen by consent.

Disciplinary Actions Taken by the District
of Columbia Court of Appeals

Original Matters

IN RE DARYL D. JONES. Bar No. 443302. September 23, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals granted Jones's petition for reinstatement.

IN RE ROBERT W. KING. Bar No. 922575. September 17, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals directed the Office of Bar Counsel to informally admonish King for failure to provide an engagement letter. In addition, the court remanded the matter to the Board on Professional Responsibility for further consideration of the conflict of interest charge against King. Rule 1.5(b).

IN RE LESLIE SILVERMAN. Bar No. 448188. September 17, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals remanded the matter to the Board on Professional Responsibility for further consideration of the conflict of interest charge against Silverman.

IN RE JOHN P. SZYMKOWICZ. Bar No. 462146. September 17, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals remanded the matter to the Board on Professional Responsibility for
further consideration of the conflict of interest charge against Szymkowicz.

IN RE JOHN T. SZYMKOWICZ. Bar No. 946079. September 17, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals remanded the matter to the Board on Professional Responsibility for further
consideration of the conflict of interest charge against Szymkowicz.

IN RE REX B. WINGERTER. Bar No. 411787. September 10, 2015. The D.C. Court of Appeals granted Wingerter's petition for reinstatement.

Interim Suspensions Issued by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals

IN RE H. FRANKLIN GREEN. Bar No. 475343. September 21, 2015. Green was suspended on an interim basis pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9(g), pending final action on the Board on Professional Responsibility's August 5, 2015, recommendation of
disbarment.

IN RE WAYNE RICHARD HARTKE. Bar No. 200378. September 21, 2015. Hartke was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in Virginia.

IN RE SEAN MCMULLEN. Bar No. 980333. September 21, 2015. McMullen was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in Virginia.

IN RE GARY L. SHAFFER. Bar No. 465556. September 21, 2015. Shaffer
was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in
Pennsylvania.

IN RE TAWANA D. SHEPHARD. Bar No. 486834. September 21, 2015. Shephard was suspended on an interim basis based upon discipline imposed in Maryland.

Informal Admonitions Issued by the Office of Bar Counsel

IN RE PATRICIA A. BARNES. Bar No. 280453. August 27,
2015. Bar Counsel issued Barnes an informal admonition for commingling her
funds with entrusted funds that belonged to other clients. Rule 1.15(a).

IN RE BARBARA WASHINGTON FRANKLIN. Bar No. 380860. August 25, 2015. Bar Counsel issued Franklin an informal admonition for representing one of the parties in a contested will that she had drafted for the decedent, and would likely be called for as a witness. Rule 3.7(a).


The Office of Bar Counsel compiled the foregoing summaries of disciplinary actions.
Informal Admonitions issued by Bar Counsel and Reports and Recommendations
issued by the Board on Professional Responsibility are posted at
www.dcattorneydiscipline.org. Most board recommendations as to discipline are
not final until considered by the court. Court opinions are printed in the
Atlantic Reporter and also are available online for decisions issued since August 1998. To obtain
a copy of a recent slip opinion, visit www.dccourts.gov/internet/opinionlocator.jsf.