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Billy Ponds

Docket No. 17-BD-015

Decisions

Board Report and Orders (June 24, 2019)

Summary: The Board on Professional Responsibility recommended that the D.C. Court of Appeals suspend Ponds for nine months and that he be required to pay restitution to the client as a condition of reinstatement and complete a CLE course concerning In re Mance. Ponds took a flat fee from two clients at the start of his representation of each. Neither was put into a trust account. In each case, Ponds attempted to have his clients execute a waiver to avoid the obligation to have the funds held in his trust account. The waivers did not comply with Mance. These actions violated D.C. Rules 1.15(a) and (e) and Virginia Rule 1.15(b)(5) (negligent misappropriation); D.C. Rule 1.15(a) and Virginia Rule 1.15(c) (record keeping); D.C. Rule 1.16(d) (failure to return unearned fees); and D.C. Rule 1.5(a) (unreasonable fee). The Board Chair wrote a Separate Statement in Dissent wherein he joined the Board in its decision with one exception: Ponds violated Rule 1.5(a) when he charged and received a purported “non-refundable” flat fee, because doing so constrained his clients’ freedom to terminate his services. Three other Board members concurred in the Separate Statement.

Hearing Committee Report (August 14, 2018)

Summary: Not yet available.

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