Nonetheless the bar office of counsel - the first line of investigation of complaints against Washington lawyers - dismissed the complaint against that lawyer.

It came up before the Board on a routine review of cases dismissed by the office of Bar Counsel Fred Grabowsky to make sure the lawyer there are following board policy.

The board members, and Grabowsky himself after reviewing the case, agreed that laywer should have faced discipline.

Among other things, board members found the lawyer's file on the elderly property owner's case was so thin they could not really tell why he wanted an attorney in the first place.

But one thing was clear, said Maynard." The man thought he had legitimate claim and the lawyer did nothing."

What's in a name? "Harold Palm" and "Ebenezar Snitch" were the two defendents in a hypothetical case made up by Charles Ruff, a former Watergate prosecuter who now is assistant deputy attorney general, and Washington attorney Michael Tigar for an American Bar Association trial seminar here.

"Palm" was the government official accused of taking a bribe. "Snitch" turned out to be the government's chief witness - giving Ruff a little bit of trouble in his commentary on the case study.

"The snitch's lawyer," he began, only to correct himself a second later. "Mr. Snitch's attorney, I should say."

Which may be an indication of the way attorneys - even government prosecutors who rely on them - think of defendants who turn government witness to get off the book.

Fast action: D.C. Bar Counsel Fred Grabowsky cleared Washington attorneys Charles H. Morfa and Barry Levine of charges that they had stalled on handing over some documents to the Senate Ethics Committee investigating Sen. Edward W. Brooke and had altered other documents.

"Our inquiry revealed no basis in fact for the allegations, and we have not opened an investigative file in this matter," wrote Grabowsky.

Fred R. Nathan, a lawyer with offices in Washington and Columbia, Md., says the writes all his papers in plain Englis, not the convoluted legalese that most lawyers love.

"Last week," he said, "I wrote a contract for a client in English. After he read it over he looked puzzled and read it again. 'How come I can understand this? I never understood one before,' was all he said. All I said was, "why shouldn't you?"

He suggests that all clients demand that their lawyers write all documents in easily understood English, the way a New York State law now requires. "It's your right," he said.

Marcus Rowden, a partner in Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Kampelman and former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and general counsel of the Atomic Energy Commission, will address the Washington Foreign Law Society Wednesday noon.

Short takes: Howard E. (Buck) O'Leary leaving Dickstein, Sharpiro & Morin to join the Washington office of Dykeman, Gossett, Spencer, Goodnow & Triggs . . . Joe Sims, former deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division until September, named a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also in the Washington office of Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue . . .. Federal Bar Association will sponsor a workshop on administrative law at the Mayflower Hotel on Thursday and Friday.