(a) Grievance Panel. All attorney grievance and discipline
matters are initially handled by a panel of judges, the
(b) Committee on Admissions and Grievances.
(1) Appointment of Committee Members, Chair, and Secretary.
(A) A standing committee of members of the bar, the
“Committee on Admissions and Grievances,” is appointed by
the court to serve staggered three-year terms.
(B) The court designates a Committee member to serve as
chair, and appoints a bar member to serve as secretary.
The Committee’s secretary is not entitled to vote on its
(A) The court’s Grievance Panel may refer to the
Committee, for investigation, hearing and report, the
following types of matters:
(i) an accusation or evidence of attorney misconduct,
including affirmative misconduct, negligent conduct, or
conduct caused by or resulting from physical or mental
infirmity, or the use of alcohol, drugs or other
(ii) any other circumstance suggesting that an attorney
may be unable to meet obligations to the court; or
(iii) any other situation in which the Grievance Panel
seeks the guidance of the Committee, including matters
relating to applications for admission or reinstatement
to the court’s bar,
possible reciprocal discipline based on the imposition
of discipline by another court or bar, or possible
discipline based on an attorney’s criminal conviction.
(B) The Committee may refer a matter to an appropriate
attorney disciplinary authority for preliminary
investigation, or may conduct a joint investigation with
that authority. For the purpose of this rule, an attorney
disciplinary authority includes any court, bar
association, attorney admissions or discipline committee,
government agency, or other licensing authority
responsible for regulating the conduct of attorneys
practicing law in that jurisdiction.
(3) Committee Proceedings.
(A) Investigation. Unless the Grievance Panel directs
otherwise, the Committee may commence an investigation of
a matter referred to it before the provision of notice to
the attorney. The Committee determines the appropriate
extent and methods of investigation.
(B) Notice of Charges and Order to Show Cause. If the
Committee determines to bring charges against an attorney,
it will provide the attorney with a written notice of the
charges and the reasons the conduct may warrant the
imposition of discipline or other corrective measures, and
order the attorney to show cause why discipline or other
corrective measures, either specified in the notice and
order or to be later determined, should not be imposed. A
notice and order is served on the attorney personally or
by certified or registered mail.
(C) Representation by Counsel. An attorney subject to
proceedings under this rule is entitled to be represented
by counsel throughout the proceedings.
(D) Attorney Answer to Notice of Charges and Order to Show
Cause. Unless the Committee directs otherwise, the
attorney must respond to the notice of charges and order
to show cause within 28 days after service by filing an
answer, any supporting evidence and any request for a
(i) Absent a court order to the contrary, the attorney
may examine all documents in the record before
submitting an answer.
(ii) The answer must include the following information:
(a) a list of all bars to which the attorney is
admitted, including all bar numbers and other bar
identification information; (b) a list of all cases
pending before the court in which the attorney is
involved; (c) a list of any pending or previous
disciplinary proceedings, and any discipline imposed, by
an attorney disciplinary authority; (d) a statement of
the alleged facts that are controverted; (e) the basis
on which any controverted facts are disputed; and (f)
any additional facts that are relevant to the
Committee’s determinations on the need for discipline or
other corrective measures, including facts relevant to
defense or mitigation.
(iii) The attorney must produce all documents requested
in the Committee’s notice of charges and order to show
(iv) The answer must be made under oath or in such other
form that the penalties for perjury apply.
(v) A copy of the answer may, in the discretion of the
Committee, be furnished to a complainant or to other
persons whose participation is relevant to the
(E) Hearing Procedures. After the attorney has answered
the Committee’s notice of charges and order to show cause,
or after the time to answer has expired, the Committee may
hold a hearing to take testimony and receive other
evidence, to hear argument, or both. If the Committee
holds a hearing:
(i) the Committee must provide at least 14 days notice
to the attorney of any hearing;
(ii) the attorney has the right to appear, to present
witnesses and other evidence, and to confront and
cross-examine under oath any witness against the
(iii) the Committee, or the person presiding over the
hearing, may announce and be governed by any other rules
of procedure warranted by the circumstances;
(iv) the attorney and all witnesses must testify under
oath or affirmation; and
(v) a record and transcript of the hearing must be made.
(F) Subpoenas and Other Orders.
(i) Subpoenas and Orders Requiring Production of
Evidence, Testimony, or Examination. The Committee or
the attorney who is the subject of a proceeding before
the Committee may apply to the Grievance Panel, on a
showing of good cause, for a subpoena or other order
requiring (a) the production of relevant documents or
other evidence in the possession of third parties or the
attorney, (b) the presence and testimony of relevant
witnesses or the attorney at a deposition or hearing, or
(c) a witness or the attorney to submit to a physical or
mental examination by a suitably licensed or certified
(ii) Protective Orders. The Committee, the attorney, or
any other affected person may apply to the Grievance
Panel for a protective order.
(iii) Sanction Orders. The Committee, the attorney, or
any other affected person may apply to the Grievance
Panel for an order sanctioning a person who fails to
obey a Committee or Grievance Panel order or who
violates the Committee’s or the Court’s
(G) Burden of Proof. A finding of misconduct must be
supported by clear and convincing evidence. A finding as
to any other issue, including issues pertaining to the
imposition of discipline or other corrective measures,
must be supported by a preponderance of the evidence.
(H) Exception to Procedures. In a particular matter, the
Grievance Panel or the Committee may determine that one or
more of the procedures described in this rule are
unnecessary or inappropriate, in which case it will so
advise the attorney.
(I) Effect of Attorney’s Incapacity, Death, or Actual or
Proffered Resignation on Committee Proceedings. Once a
matter has been referred to the Committee by the Grievance
Panel, the Committee in the first instance determines the
effect of the subject attorney’s incapacity, death, or
actual or proffered resignation on Committee proceedings.
That determination is then incorporated into the
Committee’s report to the Grievance Panel.
(4) Committee Report.
(A) Filing Procedure. The Committee must file with the
clerk the record of its proceedings, a report containing
its findings and recommendations, and any separate or
dissenting statements of Committee members. The clerk
retains the report under seal after furnishing the
Grievance Panel with copies. The Committee may, at its
discretion, inform a complainant or other interested party
that the report has been filed with the court. The clerk
mails a copy of the report to the attorney and makes the
record of the proceedings available to the attorney.
(B) Committee Recommendations. The Committee may recommend
to the Grievance Panel that the attorney be:
(i) removed from the bar of the court;
(ii) if not a member of the bar of the court, precluded
from becoming a member or from appearing in future cases
before the court;
(iii) suspended from practice before the court, for
either an indefinite or a specified period of time;
(iv) publicly or privately reprimanded;
(v) monetarily sanctioned;
(vi) removed from the court’s pro bono or Criminal
Justice Act panels;
(vii) referred to another attorney disciplinary
authority, law enforcement agency, or other agency or
(viii) subject to other disciplinary or corrective
measures as the circumstances may warrant, including any
combination of the preceding possible measures; or
(ix) not subject to discipline and the charges dismissed.
(C) Attorney Response to Committee Report. Within 21 days
after the filing of the report, the attorney must file a
response conforming to the requirements of FRAP 27(d). The
response may oppose, seek to mitigate, or waive objection
to the report. The Grievance Panel may request that the
Committee reply to the attorney’s response.
(5) Decision by the Court. After receipt of the attorney’s
responding statement and any Committee reply (or after
expiration of the time for the filing of the statement and
reply), the Grievance Panel, or another panel of the court
as directed by the Grievance Panel, rules on the matter
within a reasonable time by majority vote.
(6) Confidentiality. All matters referred to, all
proceedings conducted by, and all records possessed by the
Committee remain confidential, unless the Grievance Panel
orders otherwise, or the Committee acts under (b)(2)(B). The
Committee may make recommendations to the Grievance Panel
concerning confidentiality issues, including the possible
need for a protective order or an order sanctioning the
violation of a confidentiality rule, or the desirability of
making public, in whole or part, a matter that is otherwise
confidential under these rules. The Committee may recommend
public disclosure, or notification to a particular person or
entity, in order to protect the public, the administration
of justice, or the legal profession.
(c) Reciprocal Suspension or Disbarment.
(1) Notification Requirement. An attorney admitted to
practice in this court who is disbarred, suspended, publicly
censured, or otherwise disciplined by an attorney
disciplinary authority must file with the clerk a copy of
that disciplinary order within 28 days. For the purpose of
this rule, an attorney who resigns from the bar of a state
or court while under investigation for alleged misconduct is
deemed disbarred by that state or court, and the attorney’s
resignation, along with any acknowledgment or acceptance of
that resignation by the state or court, is deemed an order
(2) Reciprocal Order. When the court receives a copy of an
order entered by an attorney disciplinary authority
disbarring or suspending an attorney from practice, the
clerk enters an order disbarring or suspending the attorney
from practice before this court on comparable terms and
conditions. This court’s order becomes effective 28 days
after it is filed, unless the court orders otherwise.
(3) Motion to Modify or Vacate. Within 21 days after the
filing of this court’s order, the attorney may move to
modify or vacate the order. The motion will be decided by
the Grievance Panel, unless referred to the Committee. The
timely filing of a motion stays the court’s order until the
motion is determined. Unless good cause is shown, an
untimely motion will not be considered.
(d) Attorney Convicted of Crime.
(1) Notification Requirement. An attorney admitted to
practice in this court who has pled
guilty to or been found guilty of a crime (a “guilty
verdict”) must notify the clerk in writing within 28 days
after entry of the guilty verdict.
(2) Response to Notification.
(A) When the court receives notification of a guilty
verdict for a serious crime, as defined below, the clerk: (i) immediately enters an order suspending the attorney,
and (ii) serves a copy of the order on the attorney by
mail at the attorney’s last known address.
(B) When the court receives notification of a guilty
verdict for a crime that is not a serious crime, the clerk
forwards the relevant documents to the Grievance Panel,
which determines whether to enter a suspension order,
commence a disciplinary proceeding, or refer the matter to
(C) The term “serious crime” means a federal or state
felony, or a federal or state crime other than a felony
that includes as a necessary element – as determined by
the statutory or common law definition of the crime in the
jurisdiction where the plea or verdict has been entered –
any of the following: (i) interference with the
administration of justice; (ii) false statement under
oath; (iii) misrepresentation; (iv) fraud; (v) willful
failure to file an income tax return; (vi) deceit; (vii)
bribery; (viii) extortion; (ix) misappropriation; (x)
theft; or (xi) an attempt, or conspiracy, or
solicitation of another to commit a serious crime.
(3) Evidentiary Effect. A guilty verdict for any crime is
clear and convincing evidence of conduct unbecoming a member
of the bar.
(4) Motion to Modify or Vacate. The attorney may move to
modify or vacate a suspension or other disciplinary order
under (d). The motion will be decided by the Grievance
Panel, unless referred to the Committee.
(5) Reinstatement. An attorney suspended under (d)(2) will
be reinstated upon the filing of a clerk’s certificate
showing reversal of the underlying conviction, although the
Grievance Panel may continue any proceeding then pending
against the attorney.
(6) Disbarment. A suspension order under (d)(2)(A) will be
converted to a disbarment order upon exhaustion of all
direct appeals from a criminal conviction, unless the court
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