What is a Conditional Diversion Agreement (CDA) in Maryland?

When a complaint is filed against a Maryland attorney with the Attorney Grievance Commission, the parties may enter into a Conditional Diversion Agreement (“CDA”).  The purpose of the CDA is to address the reasons why the attorney violated the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct.  A CDA is appropriate when the attorney’s misconduct does not involve dishonesty and the attorney is not a threat to the public.  See Maryland Rule 16-736.  CDAs are commonly used when an attorney’s ability to practice law is impaired by alcoholism or mental illness.

The terms of CDA are confidential.  But when the CDA is revoked due to the attorney’s failure to comply with its terms, the terms of the CDA will be disclosed in the ensuing disciplinary proceeding.  In Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland v. Alston, __ Md. ___ (2012), the subject CDA had the following terms: (a) the attorney shall be treated by a mental health therapist for at least 1-year; (b) the attorney shall  issue a written apology to her client; (c) the attorney shall refund half of the amount paid by the particular client; (d) the attorney shall attend two continuing legal educational programs approved by the Attorney Grievance Commission; and (e) another lawyer shall monitor the transgressing attorney’s practice of law and submit reports to Bar Counsel.

The Court of Appeals indefinitely suspended Tiffany T. Alston for her multiple violations of the CDA.



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