DC Bar Disciplinary Rules

(a) Composition of the Board. The Court shall appoint a board to be known as the Board on Professional Responsibility, which shall consist of seven members of the Bar and two persons who are not lawyers.
(b) Appointment of Board members. The lawyer members of the Board shall be appointed by the Court from a list submitted by the Board of Governors containing the names of not fewer than three active members of the Bar for each vacancy to be filled. The non-lawyer members shall be chosen by the Court. In appointing non-lawyer members, the Court shall consider, but not be limited to, any nominees whose names may be submitted to the Court in writing by the Board of Governors or by any other organization or individual. The Court shall designate one of the lawyer members as Chairperson of the Board and another as Vice Chairperson, who shall act in the absence or disability of the Chairperson.
(c) Terms of Board members. The term of each Board member shall be three years. Upon completion of a member's term, that member shall continue to serve until a successor is appointed. No member shall serve more than two consecutive terms, except that a member appointed to fill an unexpired term of two years or less shall be eligible to serve two additional three-year terms.
(d) Action by the Board. Six members of the Board shall constitute a quorum for deciding cases, and five members shall constitute a quorum for administrative matters. In deciding cases in which the Board's action is final, the Board shall act only with the concurrence of a majority of its entire membership. In deciding cases involving a recommendation to the Court, the Board shall act only with the concurrence of a majority of its members present and voting. In all other matters the Board shall act only with the concurrence of a majority of its members present and voting, except that the Board may delegate its authority to act in such matters to a single member of the Board.

(e) Powers and duties of the Board. The Board shall have the power and duty:

(1) To consider and investigate any alleged ground for discipline or alleged incapacity of any attorney called to its attention, or upon its own motion, and to take such action with respect thereto as shall be appropriate to effect the purposes of this rule.
(2) To appoint Disciplinary Counsel, Special Disciplinary Counsel, and such assistant disciplinary counsel and staff as may be required to perform the duties and functions of that office (see section 6), and to fix their compensation. Disciplinary Counsel shall serve at the pleasure of the Board, subject to the Court's oversight authority over all disciplinary matters. Any Special Disciplinary Counsel and all assistant disciplinary counsel shall serve at the pleasure of the Board. As used hereafter in this rule, the term "Disciplinary Counsel" shall refer collectively to Disciplinary Counsel, any Special Disciplinary Counsel, and all assistant disciplinary counsel unless the context requires otherwise.
(3) To appoint an Executive Attorney, who shall serve at the pleasure of the Board, and such staff as may be required to perform the duties and functions of that office (see section 7), and to fix their compensation.
(4) To appoint two or more Hearing Committees, each consisting of two members of the Bar and one person who is not a lawyer, and such alternate Hearing Committee members as may be required, who shall conduct hearings under this rule and such other hearings as the Court or the Board may direct, and shall submit their findings and recommendations, together with the record, to the Board or, if required under this rule, to the Court.
(5) To assign, through the Executive Attorney, periodically and on a rotating basis, an attorney member of a Hearing Committee as a Contact Member to review and approve or suggest modifications of recommendations by Disciplinary Counsel for dismissals, informal admonitions, and the institution of formal charges.
(6) To assign, through the Executive Attorney, formal charges and a petition for negotiated disposition to a Hearing Committee, and to refer a petition for reinstatement to Disciplinary Counsel to determine whether Disciplinary Counsel opposes reinstatement and, if so, to assign, through the Executive Attorney, the petition for reinstatement to a Hearing Committee.
(7) To review the findings and recommendations of Hearing Committees submitted to the Board, and to prepare and forward its own findings and recommendations, together with the record of proceedings before the Hearing Committee and the Board, to the Court.
(8) To reprimand attorneys subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Court and the Board.
(9) To prepare the Board's proposed budget for submission to the Board of Governors.
(10) To adopt rules, procedures, and policies not inconsistent with this rule or any other rules of this Court

(f) Review of the Board's proposed budget. The Board of Governors may adopt or reject a proposed budget of the Board on Professional Responsibility, but in the event of a dispute between the Board of Governors and the Board on Professional Responsibility as to the amount of the latter's proposed budget, or any of its budget items, the Court shall resolve such dispute upon application by either Board.
(g) Providing information to the Court. Upon request from the Court, in the exercise of its duty to oversee the disciplinary system, the Board shall provide to the Court for its review the file in any case or cases, including those which have been concluded by dismissal, informal admonition, or reprimand.
(h) Consultation with the Bar. The Board shall, to the extent it deems feasible, consult with officers of the Bar and of voluntary bar associations in the District of Columbia concerning any appointments which it is authorized to make.

Attorney Grievance defense attorney specializes in defending lawyers in disciplinary proceedings before the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the D.C. Bar's Board on Professional Responsibility involving professional misconduct, legal ethics, disbarment, suspensions of law licenses, petitions for disciplinary action, reprimands and sanctions for unethical conduct. If you receive a letter from Bar Counsel Lydia Lawless, Disciplinary Counsel Hamilton Fox, or from any attorney disciplinary board in Maryland or the District of Columbia, retain experienced attorneys with expertise in lawyer discipline and breach of ethics cases to avoid sanctions for professional misconduct. We help lawyers avoid disbarment, suspension, reprimands, censure and informal admonitions by drafting responses to client grievances and ethical complaints; representing lawyers in peer reviews, evidentiary hearings, and oral arguments before the BPR and the Court of Appeals; filing petitions to reinstate an attorney's license to practice law; conducting law firm ethical compliance audits; and drafting legal ethics opinions to protect lawyers from ethics charges. In many cases, disciplinary proceedings may be dismissed, dismissed with a warning, or result in a conditional diversion agreement with Bar Counsel to rectify misconduct. Lawyers may need help in managing their law firm attorney escrow IOLTA trust account and complying with attorney trust accounting rules to avoid charges of ethical misconduct. Do not represent yourself in responding to an attorney grievance, law firm client complaint, or other allegation of ethical impropriety. Attorney grievance defense counsel may help you comply with legal ethics rules, avoid sanctions like suspension or disbarment, and avoid future attorney grievances.


By The Lawyer's Lawyers | Kramer & Connolly and Irwin R. Kramer who are responsible for the content of this informational website.   This website is designed for lawyers faced with attorney grievances. As cases do differ, past performance does not guarantee future results.