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Mr. Shipp said his office can initiate an investigation from any source, including complaints from lawyers and judges and facts contained in newspaper articles.

“We are voracious readers,” he said.

The bar counsel can dismiss charges, admonish lawyers or bring charges before a professional board that can lead to suspension of their legal licenses.

The rules of professional conduct for D.C. lawyers say, “A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer’s services. … A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.”