The Automatic Reporting of Lawyer Misconduct to Disciplinary Authorities: Filling the Reporting Gap
Arthur F. Greenbaum
Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law
May 29, 2012
Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 169
An effective lawyer disciplinary system is essential to the protection of clients, third parties, and the profession as a whole. The present system, however — which relies primarily on complaints filed by lawyers, judges, and clients — often fails to capture misconduct, which, either standing alone or as part of a larger pattern of misconduct, warrants disciplinary attention by sanction or through remedial training.
A robust automatic reporting regime, triggered by the occurrence of identifiable acts, would help fill this reporting gap. The system I envision places reporting duties on third parties providing services to lawyers, the courts, and individual lawyers already convicted of a crime or sanctioned for unethical conduct. Some of these duties, like overdraft notification by banks or self-reporting by lawyers, are already well established, although not universally so. Others, like imposing a reporting duty on malpractice insurers or courts, have not been adopted widely. None have been systematically studied. Each of these devices has its own costs, benefits, and unintended consequences. Each can be implemented in a variety of ways. This Article catalogs and critiques those costs, benefits, and consequences, and provides recommendations for the implementation of these devices.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 71
Keywords: trust account, overdraft, malpractice, reciprocal discipline, interim suspension, reporting attorney misconduct
JEL Classification: K39, K49working papers series
Date posted: May 30, 2012
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