A long-running dispute over lobbying for Rwanda during that country’s bloody civil war has turned into a test of how the District of Columbia Bar deals with lawyers in trouble.

In November, the D.C. Court of Appeals agreed to suspend Robert Johnson II, an international relations lawyer loosely affiliated with the Washington office of Balch & Bingham, for 30 days for mishandling funds he was paid to lobby on behalf of Rwanda. The case marked the first time a disciplinary hearing committee split over a negotiated discipline and drove the court to comment on the committees’ role in the District’s year-old negotiated discipline process.