The Automatic Reporting of Lawyer Misconduct to Disciplinary Authorities: Filling the Reporting Gap

71 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012

See all articles by Arthur F. Greenbaum

Arthur F. Greenbaum

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: trust account, overdraft, malpractice, reciprocal discipline, interim suspension, reporting attorney misconduct

JEL Classification: K39, K49

Suggested Citation

Greenbaum, Arthur Franklin, The Automatic Reporting of Lawyer Misconduct to Disciplinary Authorities: Filling the Reporting Gap (May 29, 2012). Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 169, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2070179 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2070179

Arthur Franklin Greenbaum (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 W. 12th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-4160 (Phone)
614-688-4202 (Fax)

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