Rule XI. Disciplinary Proceedings
Section 1. Jurisdiction
(a) Persons subject to disciplinary jurisdiction.
All members of the District of Columbia Bar, all persons appearing or
participating pro hac vice
in any proceeding in accordance with
Rule 49(c)(1) of the General Rules of this Court, all persons licensed
by this Court Special Legal Consultants under Rule 46(c)(4), and all persons
who have been suspended or disbarred by this Court are subject to the
disciplinary jurisdiction of this Court and its Board on Professional
Responsibility (hereinafter referred to as "the Board").
(b) Jurisdiction of other courts and voluntary bar
Nothing in this rule shall be construed to deny to
any court in the District of Columbia such powers as are necessary for
that court to maintain control over proceedings conducted before it, such
as the power of contempt or to prohibit a voluntary bar association from
censuring, suspending, or expelling its members.
(c) No statute of limitations.
proceedings against an attorney shall not be subject to any period of
Section 2. Grounds for Discipline
(a) Duty of attorneys.
The license to practice
law in the District of Columbia is a continuing proclamation by this Court
that the holder is fit to be entrusted with professional and judicial
matters, and to aid in the administration of justice as an attorney and
an officer of the Court. It is the duty of every recipient of that privilege
at all times and in all conduct, both professional and personal, to conform
to the standards imposed upon members of the Bar as conditions for the
privilege to practice law.
Acts or omissions by an attorney,
individually or in concert with any other person or persons, which violate
the attorney's oath of office or the rules or code of professional conduct
currently in effect in the District of Columbia shall constitute misconduct
and shall be grounds for discipline, whether or not the act or omission
occurred in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Any of the
following shall also be grounds for discipline:
(1) Conviction of a crime (see section 10);
(2) Discipline imposed in another jurisdiction (see section 11);
(3) Failure to comply with any order of the Court or the Board issued
pursuant to this rule; or
(4) Failure to respond to a written inquiry from the Court or the
Board in the course of a disciplinary proceeding without asserting, in
writing, the grounds for refusing to do so.
(c) Review of board orders and inquiries.
an attorney objects in writing to an order or written inquiry of the Board,
the objection shall be noted, but review of the order or inquiry by the
Court shall not be available (except as provided in section 18 (c) with
respect to subpoenas) until all proceedings before the Board have been
concluded. If the Board imposes or recommends the imposition of a disciplinary
sanction, the attorney may then seek review of the previously challenged
order or inquiry by filing an appropriate motion or pleading with the
Court. If the order or inquiry is reversed, vacated, or set aside by the
Court, a previous failure to comply with the order or to respond to the
inquiry shall not be a ground for discipline. If the order or inquiry
is modified by the Court, failure to comply with the order or to respond
to the inquiry may be a ground for discipline only to the extent that
the order or inquiry is not modified.
Section 3. Disciplinary sanctions.
(a) Types of discipline. Any of the following
sanctions may be imposed on an attorney for a disciplinary violation:
(2) Suspension for an appropriate fixed period of time not to exceed
three years. Any order of suspension may include a requirement that
the attorney furnish proof of rehabilitation as a condition of reinstatement.
In the absence of such a requirement, the attorney may resume practice
at the end of the period of suspension;
(5) Informal admonition;
(6) Revocation or suspension of a license to practice as a Special Legal
(7) Probation for not more than three years. Probation may be imposed
in lieu of or in addition to any other disciplinary sanction. Any conditions
of probation shall be stated in writing in the order imposing probation.
The order shall also state whether, and to what extent, the attorney
shall be required to notify clients of the probation. The Board by rule
shall establish procedures for the supervision of probation. Violation
of any condition of probation shall make the attorney subject to revocation
of probation and the imposition of any other disciplinary sanction listed
in this subsection, but only to the extent stated in the order imposing
(b) Conditions imposed with discipline. When
imposing discipline, the Court or the Board may require an attorney
to make restitution either to persons financially injured by the attorney’s
conduct or to the Clients’ Security Trust Fund (see Rule XII),
or both, as a condition of probation or of reinstatement. The Court
or the Board may also impose any other reasonable condition, including
a requirement that the attorney take and pass a professional responsibility
examination as a condition of probation or of reinstatement.
(c) Temporary suspension or probation.
(1) On petition of the Board authorized by its Chairperson or Vice Chairperson,
supported by an affidavit showing that an attorney appears to pose a
substantial threat of serious harm to the public or has failed to respond
to an order of the Board in a matter where Bar Counsel’s investigation
involves allegations of serious misconduct, the Court may issue an order,
with such notice as the Court may prescribe, temporarily suspending
the attorney or imposing temporary conditions of probation on the attorney,
or both. “Serious misconduct” for this purpose means fraud,
dishonesty, misappropriation, commingling, overdraft of trust accounts,
criminal conduct other than criminal contempt, or instances of neglect
that establish a pattern of misconduct in the pending investigation.
Any order of temporary suspension or probation which restricts the
attorney’s maintenance or use of a trust account shall, when served
on any bank maintaining an account against which the attorney may make
withdrawals, serve as an injunction barring the bank from making further
payment from the account on any obligation except in accordance with
restrictions imposed by the Court. An order of temporary suspension
issued under this subsection shall preclude the attorney from accepting
any new cases or other legal matters, but shall not preclude the attorney
from continuing to represent existing clients during the thirty-day
period after issuance of the order; however, any fees tendered to the
attorney during that thirty-day period or at any time thereafter while
the temporary suspension is in effect shall be deposited in a trust
account, from which withdrawals may be made only as directed by the
Court. The order of temporary suspension or probation for failure to
respond to a Board order shall not disclose information about the substance
of the complaint against the attorney.
(2) Where issues of fact appear to be presented by a petition of the
Board under this section, or by any response of the attorney thereto,
the Court may appoint a special master to preside at a hearing at which
evidence will be presented concerning the petition. The master shall
prepare a report summarizing the evidence presented and make recommended
findings of fact which, together with the record, shall be filed with
the Court within fifteen days of the Court’s order of appointment.
(d) Dissolution or amendment of orders of temporary
suspension or probation.
An attorney temporarily suspended or placed on probation for failure
to file a response to a Board order pursuant to subsection (c) of this
section shall be reinstated and the temporary suspension or probation
dissolved when (1) Bar Counsel notifies the Court that the attorney
has responded to the Board’s order or (2) the Court determines
that an adequate response has been filed by the attorney.
An attorney temporarily suspended or placed on probation on the ground
that the attorney appears to pose a substantial threat of serious harm
to the public may, for good cause, request dissolution or amendment
of the temporary order by petition filed with the Court, which shall
also be served on the Board and on Bar Counsel. A petition for dissolution
shall be set for immediate hearing before the Board or a panel of at
least three of its members designated by its Chairperson or, in the
Chairperson’s absence, by the Vice Chairperson. The Board or its
designated panel shall hear the petition forthwith and submit its report
and recommendation to the Court with the utmost speed consistent with
fairness. Upon receipt of the report, the Court shall consider the petition
promptly, with or without a hearing as the Court may elect, and shall
enter an appropriate order.
Section 4. The Board on Professional Responsibility
(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
(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 Bar Counsel, Special Bar Counsel, and such assistant
bar counsel and staff as may be required to perform the duties and functions
of that office (see section 6), and to fix their compensation. Bar Counsel
shall serve at the pleasure of the Board, subject to the Court’s
oversight authority over all disciplinary matters. Any Special Bar Counsel
and all assistant bar counsel shall serve at the pleasure of the Board.
As used hereafter in this rule, the term “Bar Counsel” shall
refer collectively to Bar Counsel, any Special Bar Counsel, and all
assistant bar 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
(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 Bar 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 Bar Counsel to determine whether Bar
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
(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.
Section 5. Hearing Committees
(a) Composition and term. Each Hearing Committee
appointed by the Board shall consist of two members of the Bar and one
person who is not a lawyer. The Board shall designate one of the lawyer
members of each Hearing Committee as Chairperson of the Committee. The
term of each Hearing Committee member shall be three years. Upon completion
of a member's term, that member shall continue to serve until a successor
is appointed. No person shall serve more than two consecutive terms
as a Hearing Committee member, but a person who has served two consecutive
terms may be reappointed after the expiration of one year.
(b) Quorum and Acting Chairperson. Two members
of a Hearing Committee shall constitute a quorum for the conduct of
hearings. If a member cannot be present for a hearing, alternate Hearing
Committee members previously selected by the Board may serve upon designation
by the Executive Attorney. If the absent member is the Chairperson of
the Hearing Committee, the other attorney member shall serve as Acting
Chairperson. Each Hearing Committee shall act only with the concurrence
of a majority of its members.
(c) Powers and duties of Hearing Committees. Hearing
Committees shall have the power and duty:
(1) Upon assignment by the Executive Attorney, to conduct hearings on
formal charges of misconduct, a proposed negotiated disposition, or
a contested petition for reinstatement and on such other matters as
the Court or Board may direct.
(2) To submit their findings and recommendations on formal charges of
misconduct to the Board, together with the record of the hearing.
(3) To submit their findings and recommendations to approve a negotiated
disposition and their findings and recommendations in a contested reinstatement
to the Court, together with the record of the hearing.
(d) Duties of Contact Members. A Contact
Member designated under section 4(e)(5) of this rule shall have the
power and duty to review and approve or suggest modifications of recommendations
by Bar Counsel for dismissals, informal admonitions, the institution
of formal charges, and the deferral or abatement of disciplinary investigations
pending the outcome of related criminal or civil litigation. In the
event of a disagreement between Bar Counsel and the Contact Member regarding
the disposition recommended by Bar Counsel, the matter shall be referred
by the Executive Attorney to the Chairperson of a Hearing Committee
other than that of the Contact Member for decision. The decision of
the Hearing Committee Chairperson to whom the matter is referred shall
(e) Recusal of Contact Members. No Hearing
Committee member shall take part in any formal disciplinary proceeding
regarding a matter which that member reviewed as a Contact Member.
Section 6. Bar Counsel
(a) Powers and duties. Bar Counsel shall have
the power and duty:
(1) To employ and supervise such staff as may be necessary for the performance
of Bar Counsel’s duties, subject to budget limitations established
by the Board.
(2) To investigate all matters involving alleged misconduct by an attorney
subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of this Court which may come
to the attention of Bar Counsel or the Board from any source whatsoever,
where the apparent facts, if true, may warrant discipline. Except in
matters requiring dismissal because the complaint is clearly unfounded
on its face or falls outside the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Court,
no disposition shall be recommended or undertaken by Bar Counsel until
the accused attorney shall have been afforded an opportunity to respond
to the allegations.
(3) Upon prior approval of a Contact Member, to dispose of all
matters involving alleged misconduct by an attorney subject to the disciplinary
jurisdiction of the Court, by dismissal or informal admonition or by
referral of charges; or upon prior approval of a member of the Board
on Professional Responsibility, by diversion; or by negotiated disposition.
(4) To prosecute all disciplinary proceedings before Hearing Committees,
the Board, and the Court. When appearing before the Court, Bar Counsel
may, after notice to the Board, argue for a disposition other than that
contained in the report and recommendation of the Board.
(5) To appear at hearings on petitions for reinstatement of suspended
or disbarred attorneys, to examine witnesses testifying in support of
such petitions, and to present available evidence, if any, in opposition
(6) To maintain permanent records of all matters processed and
the disposition thereof, except that files of cases which have been
dismissed may be destroyed after ten years.
(7) To file with the Court and the Board certificates of convictions
of attorneys convicted of crimes, and certified copies of disciplinary
orders concerning attorneys issued in other jurisdictions.
(8) To submit to the Court at regular intervals, at least twice
a year, a list of cases resulting in informal admonitions by Bar Counsel
or reprimands by the Board.
(b) Prohibition of private practice. Bar
Counsel shall not engage in the private practice of law, except that
the Board may authorize a reasonable period of transition after appointment.
Section 7. The Executive Attorney
(a) Powers and duties. The Executive Attorney
shall have the power and duty:
(1) To employ and supervise such staff as may be necessary for the performance
of the Executive Attorney’s duties, subject to budget limitations
established by the Board.
(2) To assign, 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 Bar Counsel for dismissals,
informal admonitions, and the institution of formal charges.
(3) To assign formal charges, a petition for negotiated disposition,
and a contested petition for reinstatement to a Hearing Committee.
(4) To maintain records of proceedings before Hearing Committees, the
Board, and the Court.
(5) To forward to the Court the findings and recommendations of the
Board on formal charges of misconduct together with the record of proceedings
before the Hearing Committee and the Board.
(6) To forward to the Court the Hearing Committee’s recommendation
to approve a negotiated disposition and its recommendation in a contested
reinstatement, together with the record of proceedings before the Hearing
(7) To assist the Board in the performance of its duties as the Board
from time to time may direct.
(8) To act as Special Bar Counsel when appointed by the Board.
(9) To act as legal advisor to the Board.
(10) To represent the Board in any court proceeding when designated
by the Board to do so.
(11) To argue before this Court the position of the Board, when designated
by the Board to do so, in any case in which Bar Counsel disagrees with
a report and recommendation of
(b) Review by the Board. Because the Executive
Attorney is exercising the delegated authority of the Board, any decision
or action by the Executive Attorney shall be subject to review by the
Board in its discretion.
(c) Prohibition of private practice. The Executive
Attorney shall not engage in the private practice of law, except that
the Board may authorize a reasonable period of transition after appointment.
Section 8. Investigations and Hearings
(a) Investigations. All investigations, whether
upon complaint or otherwise, shall be conducted by Bar Counsel. An attorney
under investigation has an obligation to respond to Bar Counsel's written
inquiries in the conduct of an investigation, subject to constitutional
limitations. In the event of an attorney's failure to respond to such
an inquiry, Bar Counsel may request the Board to enter an appropriate
(b) Disposition of investigations. Upon the
conclusion of an investigation, Bar Counsel may, with the prior approval
of a Contact Member, dismiss the complaint, informally admonish the
attorney under investigation, or institute formal charges; or may, with
the prior approval of a member of the Board on Professional Responsibility,
enter into a diversion agreement. An attorney who receives an informal
admonition may request a formal hearing before a Hearing Committee,
in which event the admonition shall be vacated and Bar Counsel shall
institute formal charges.
(c) Petitions. Formal disciplinary proceedings
before a Hearing Committee shall be instituted by Bar Counsel by the
filing of a petition under oath with the Executive Attorney. A copy
of the petition shall be served upon the attorney, and another copy
shall be sent to the Clerk of the Court. The petition shall be sufficiently
clear and specific to inform the attorney of the alleged misconduct.
Upon receipt of the petition, without waiting for the attorney to file
an answer, the Executive Attorney shall schedule a hearing and assign
the matter to a Hearing Committee.
(d) Notice of hearing. After a hearing has
been scheduled, the Executive Attorney shall serve notice of the hearing
upon Bar Counsel and the attorney, or the attorney's counsel, stating
the date and place of the hearing. The date of the hearing shall be
at least fifteen days after the date of service of the notice. Service
shall be made in accordance with section 19(e) of this rule. The notice
shall also advise the attorney that, at the hearing, the attorney shall
have the right to be represented by counsel, to cross-examine witnesses,
and to present evidence in defense or mitigation of the charges.
(e) Attorney’s answer. The attorney shall
file an answer to the petition within twenty days after service of the
petition unless the time is extended by the Hearing Committee Chairperson.
The attorney shall serve a copy of the answer upon Bar Counsel and file
the original with the Executive Attorney. If the attorney fails to file
an answer within the time provided, the Hearing Committee Chairperson
may authorize the filing of an answer at any time before the hearing
upon a showing of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.
(f) Failure to answer and default.
Notwithstanding any action taken pursuant to section 3 (c), if the attorney
fails to answer a petition as provided by section 8 (e) of this rule,
Bar Counsel may file a motion for default with the Hearing Committee
to which the matter has been assigned; the motion must be supported
by sworn proof of the charges in the specification and by proof of actual
notice of the petition or proper publication as approved by the Court.
The Hearing Committee Chairperson may enter an order of default and
the petition shall be deemed admitted subject to ex parte proof by Bar
Counsel sufficient to prove the allegations, by clear and convincing
evidence, based upon documentary evidence, sworn affidavits, and/or
testimony. Bar Counsel shall notify the attorney of the entry of a default
An order of default is limited to the allegations set forth in Bar
Counsel’s petition and shall be included in the Hearing Committee’s
report and recommendation filed with the Board. The Hearing Committee
shall issue its report and recommendation based upon the documentary
evidence, sworn affidavits, or testimony presented by Bar Counsel, and
the report shall set forth proposed findings of fact and conclusions
An order of default shall be vacated if, within thirty days of issuance
of the Hearing Committee’s report, the attorney files a motion
with the Hearing Committee showing good cause why the order should be
set aside. Thereafter, the Board may vacate the order only upon a showing
that failure to do so would result in a manifest injustice.
(g) Discovery. The attorney shall have the
right to reasonable discovery in accordance with rules promulgated by
the Board. Rulings with respect to such discovery proceedings shall
be made by the Chairperson of the Hearing Committee to which the matter
has been assigned for hearing or by the Chairperson of the Board. Objections
to such rulings shall be preserved and may be raised upon appeal to
the Board from the final action of the Hearing Committee. No interlocutory
appeals shall be permitted.
(h) Prehearing conference. In the discretion
of the Hearing Committee Chairperson, a prehearing conference may be
ordered for the purpose of obtaining admissions or otherwise narrowing
the issues presented by the pleadings. The conference may be held before
the Hearing Committee Chairperson or any member of the Committee designated
by its Chairperson.
(i) Conduct of hearings. A Hearing Committee
shall conduct its hearings in accordance with rules promulgated by the
Section 8.1. Diversion
(a) Availability of diversion. Subject to
the limitations herein, diversion may be offered by Bar Counsel to an
attorney under investigation for a disciplinary violation.
(b) Limitations on diversion.
Diversion shall be available in cases of alleged minor misconduct, but
shall not be available where:
(1) the alleged misconduct resulted in prejudice to a client or another
(2) discipline previously has been imposed or diversion previously has
been offered and accepted, unless Bar Counsel finds the presence of
exceptional circumstances justifying a waiver of this limitation;
(3) the alleged misconduct involves fraud, dishonesty, deceit, misappropriation
or conversion of client funds or other things of value, or misrepresentation;
(4) the alleged misconduct constitutes a criminal offense under applicable
law, except for the offenses of driving under the influence and operating
a motor vehicle while impaired (or a similar conviction in another jurisdiction).
(c) Procedures for diversion. At the conclusion
of an investigation, Bar Counsel may, in Bar Counsel's sole discretion,
offer to an attorney being investigated for misconduct the option of
entering a diversion program in lieu of other procedures available to
Bar Counsel. The attorney shall be free to accept or reject the offer
of diversion. If the attorney accepts diversion, a written diversion
agreement shall be entered into by both parties including, inter
alia, the time of commencement and completion of the diversion program,
the content of the program, and the criteria by which successful completion
of the program will be measured. The diversion agreement shall state
that it is subject to review by a member of the Board, to whom it shall
be submitted for review and approval after execution by Bar Counsel
and the attorney.
(d) Content of diversion program. The diversion
program shall be designed to remedy the alleged misconduct of the attorney.
It may include participation in formal courses of education sponsored
by the Bar, a law school, or another organization; completion of an
individualized program of instruction specified in the agreement or
supervised by another Bar entity; or any other arrangement agreed to
by the parties which is designed to improve the ability of the attorney
to practice in accordance with the Rules of Professional Conduct.
(e) Proceedings after completion or termination
of diversion program. Except as provided in subsection (b)(2) of
this section, if the attorney successfully completes a diversion program,
Bar Counsel's investigation shall be closed, and the attorney shall
have no record of misconduct resulting therefrom. If the attorney does
not successfully complete the diversion program, Bar Counsel shall take
such other action as is authorized and prescribed under section 8(b).
Section 9. Post-hearing Proceedings
(a) Hearing Committee report. Within 120 days
after the conclusion of its hearing, the Hearing Committee shall in
every case submit to the Board a report containing its findings and
recommendation, together with a record of its proceedings and the briefs
of the parties, if any were submitted. The record shall include a transcript
of the hearing.
(b) Proceedings before the Board. Exceptions
to the report of a Hearing Committee may be filed in accordance with
rules promulgated by the Board. If no exceptions are filed, the Board
shall decide the matter on the basis of the Hearing Committee record.
If exceptions are filed, the Executive Attorney shall schedule the matter
for submission of briefs and oral argument to the Board.
(c) Disposition by the Board. Promptly after
the conclusion of oral argument or, if there is no argument, promptly
after reviewing the Hearing Committee record, the Board shall either
adopt or modify the recommendation of the Hearing Committee, remand
the case to the Hearing Committee for further proceedings, direct Bar
Counsel to issue an informal admonition, or dismiss the petition.
(d) Report of the Board. Unless the Board
dismisses the petition or remands the case, or unless the matter is
concluded by a reprimand or a direction for an informal admonition,
the Board shall promptly prepare a report containing its findings and
recommendation. The Executive Attorney shall submit the report of the
Board, together with the entire record, to the Court and shall serve
a copy thereof on the attorney.
(e) Exceptions to the report. The attorney
or Bar Counsel, or both, may file with the Court exceptions to the report
of the Board within twenty days from the date of service of a copy thereof.
The Court, for good cause shown, may grant an additional period for
filing exceptions, not to exceed twenty days.
(f) Exceptions when no report is filed. If
the Board issues a reprimand, directs Bar Counsel to issue an informal
admonition, or dismisses the petition, the attorney or Bar Counsel,
or both, may file with the Court exceptions to the Board's decision
within twenty days from the date of service of a copy thereof. The Court,
for good cause shown, may grant an additional period for filing exceptions,
not to exceed twenty days.
(g) Suspension pending final action by the Court.
(1) Upon receipt of a report from the Board recommending discipline
in the form of disbarment, suspension requiring proof of fitness as
a condition of reinstatement, or suspension of one year or more without
a fitness requirement, the Court shall order the attorney to show cause
within thirty days why the Court should not enter an order of suspension
pending final action on the Board’s recommendation. The attorney
shall be required to show cause even if the Board recommends as discipline
a partial (but not an entire) stay of the suspension in favor of probation.
Unless the Court requests, Bar Counsel need not reply to the attorney’s
response. To prevent suspension under this subsection, the attorney
shall have the burden of demonstrating a substantial likelihood of success
with respect to the exceptions the attorney has taken to the Board’s
(2) If the attorney does not make the showing required by subsection
(g)(1) of this section, or if the attorney has not responded to the
show cause order in the time required, the Court shall impose interim
discipline as follows pending final action on the Board’s recommendation:
(a) If the Board has recommended disbarment or suspension
requiring proof of fitness to practice law as a condition of reinstatement,
the Court shall enter an order suspending the attorney from the practice
of law in the District of Columbia. (b) If the Board has recommended
suspension of one year or more without requiring proof of fitness as
a condition of reinstatement, the Court shall enter an order imposing
the discipline recommended by the Board.
(3) Any suspension imposed under this subsection will not limit the
authority of the Court to impose greater or lesser discipline than that
recommended by the Board.
(4) Suspension under this subsection shall take effect as provided in
subsection 14 (f), and an attorney suspended under this subsection shall
comply with the requirements of section 14 of this rule.
(h) Proceedings before the Court.
(1) Upon the filing of exceptions under subsection (e) or subsection
(f) of this section, and in all cases arising under section 8 in which
the Board’s recommended sanction includes a requirement that the
attorney make a showing of fitness before reinstatement, the Court shall
schedule the matter for consideration in accordance with applicable
court procedures. If the matter has come before the Court under subsection
(f) of this section, the Court may order the Board to file a report
setting forth its findings of fact and the reasons for its decision.
Upon conclusion of the proceedings, or upon consideration of the report
if no exceptions are filed, the Court shall enter an appropriate order
as soon as the business of the Court permits. In determining the appropriate
order, the Court shall accept the findings of fact made by the Board
unless they are unsupported by substantial evidence of record, and shall
adopt the recommended disposition of the Board unless to do so would
foster a tendency toward inconsistent dispositions for comparable conduct
or would otherwise be unwarranted. Unpublished opinions in disciplinary
cases decided on or after April 1, 1991, shall not be deemed binding
precedent by the Court except as to appropriateness of sanctions.
(2) Other than as provided in subsection (g) of this section, if no
exceptions are filed to the Board’s report, the Court will enter
an order imposing the discipline recommended by the Board upon the expiration
of the time permitted for filing exceptions.
(i) Counsel in disciplinary matters before the
Court. Proceedings before the Board and the Court shall be conducted
by Bar Counsel. If Bar Counsel disagrees with the findings or recommendation
of the Board, the position of the Board may be presented before the
Court, upon request of the Board, by the Executive Attorney or other
counsel. The Court in its discretion may appoint an attorney to present
the views of a minority of the Board.
(j) Court review of final actions by the Board.
In any disciplinary proceeding in which a dismissal, an informal admonition,
or a reprimand is contemplated or effected, the Court shall have the
right to review the matter on its own motion and to enter an appropriate
order, including an order directing further proceedings.
Section 10. Disciplinary Proceedings Based Upon Conviction
(a) Notification. If an attorney is found
guilty of a crime or pleads guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal
charge in a District of Columbia court, the clerk of that court shall,
within ten days from the date of such finding or plea, transmit to this
Court and to Bar Counsel a certified copy of the court record or docket
entry of the finding or plea. Bar Counsel shall forward the certified
copy to the Board. Upon learning that the certified copy has not been
timely transmitted by the clerk of the court in which the finding or
plea was made, or that an attorney has been found guilty of a crime
or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a criminal charge
in a court outside the District of Columbia or in any federal court,
Bar Counsel shall promptly obtain a certified copy of the court record
or docket entry of the finding or plea and transmit it to this Court
and to the Board. The attorney shall also file with this Court and the
Board, within ten days from the date of such finding or plea, a certified
copy of the court record or docket entry of the finding or plea.
(b) Serious crimes. The term "serious crime"
shall include (1) any felony, and (2) any other crime a necessary element
of which, as determined by the statutory or common law definition of
such crime, involves improper conduct as an attorney, interference with
the administration of justice, false swearing, misrepresentation, fraud,
willful failure to file income tax returns, deceit, bribery, extortion,
misappropriation, theft, or an attempt or a conspiracy or solicitation
of another to commit a "serious crime."
(c) Action by the CourtSerious crimes.
Upon the filing with this Court of a certified copy of the record or
docket entry demonstrating that an attorney has been found guilty of
a serious crime or has pleaded guilty or nolo contendere to a
charge of serious crime, the Court shall enter an order immediately
suspending the attorney, notwithstanding the pendency of an appeal,
if any, pending final disposition of a disciplinary proceeding to be
commenced promptly by the Board. Upon good cause shown, the Court may
set aside such order of suspension when it appears in the interest of
justice to do so.
(d) Action by the Board—Serious crimes.
Upon receipt of a certified copy of a court record demonstrating that
an attorney has been found guilty of a serious crime or has pleaded
guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of serious crime, or any
crime that appears to be a serious crime as defined in subsection (b)
of this section, Bar Counsel shall initiate a formal proceeding in which
the sole issue to be determined shall be the nature of the final discipline
to be imposed. However, if the Court determines under subsection (c)
of this section that the crime is not a serious crime, the proceeding
shall go forward on any charges under the Rules of Professional Conduct
that Bar Counsel may institute. A disciplinary proceeding under this
subsection may proceed through the Hearing Committee to the Board, and
the Board may hold such hearings and receive such briefs and other documents
as it deems appropriate, but the proceeding shall not be concluded until
all direct appeals from conviction of the crime have been completed.
(e) Other crimes. Upon the receipt of a certified
copy of a court record demonstrating that an attorney has been found
guilty of a crime other than a serious crime, or has pleaded guilty
or nolo contendere to a charge of crime other than a serious
crime, Bar Counsel shall investigate the matter and proceed as appropriate
under section 8 of this rule.
(f) Proof of criminal convictions. A certified
copy of the court record or docket entry of a finding that an attorney
is guilty of any crime, or of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere
by an attorney to a charge of any crime, shall be conclusive evidence
of the commission of that crime in any disciplinary proceeding based
(g) Reinstatement. An attorney suspended
under subsection (c) of this section may file with the Court and the
Board, at any time, a certificate demonstrating that the underlying
finding or plea or the judgment of conviction based thereon has been
reversed, vacated, or set aside. Upon the filing of the certificate,
the Court shall promptly enter an order reinstating the attorney, but
the reinstatement shall not terminate any formal disciplinary proceeding
then pending against the attorney, the disposition of which shall be
determined by the Board on the basis of all available evidence.
Section 11. Reciprocal Discipline
(a) Definition. As used in this section,
(1) “state” shall mean any state, territory, or possession
of the United States.
(2) “disciplining court” shall mean (a) any court of the
United States as defined in Title 28, Section 451 of the United States
Code; (b) the highest court of any state; and (c) any other agency,
commission, or tribunal, however denominated, that is authorized to
impose discipline effective throughout a state.
(b) Notification. It shall be the duty of Bar
Counsel to obtain copies of all orders of discipline from other disciplining
courts. Upon learning that an attorney subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction
of this Court has been disciplined by another disciplining court, Bar
Counsel shall obtain a certified copy of the disciplinary order and
file it with this Court. In addition, any attorney subject to the disciplinary
jurisdiction of this Court, upon being subjected to professional disciplinary
action by another disciplining court, shall promptly inform Bar Counsel
of such action in writing.
(c) Standards for reciprocal discipline. Reciprocal
discipline may be imposed whenever an attorney has been disbarred, suspended,
or placed on probation by another disciplining court. It shall not be
imposed for sanctions by a disciplining court such as public censure
or reprimand that do not include suspension or probation. For sanctions
by another disciplining court that do not include suspension or probation,
the Court shall order publication of the fact of that discipline by
appropriate means in this jurisdiction.
Reciprocal discipline shall be imposed unless the attorney demonstrates
to the Court, by clear and convincing evidence, that:
(1) The procedure elsewhere was so lacking in notice or opportunity
to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process; or
(2) There was such infirmity of proof establishing the misconduct as
to give rise to the clear conviction that the Court could not, consistently
with its duty, accept as final the conclusion on that subject; or
(3) The imposition of the same discipline by the Court would result
in grave injustice; or
(4) The misconduct established warrants substantially different discipline
in the District of Columbia; or
(5) The misconduct elsewhere does not constitute misconduct in the District
Unless there is a finding by the Court under (1), (2), or (5) of this
subsection, a final determination by another disciplining court that
an attorney has been guilty of professional misconduct shall conclusively
establish the misconduct for the purpose of a reciprocal disciplinary
proceeding in this Court.
(d) Temporary suspension and show cause order.
Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order demonstrating that an attorney
subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of this Court has been suspended
or disbarred by another disciplining court, the Court shall forthwith
enter an order (1) suspending the attorney from the practice of law
in the District of Columbia pending final disposition of any reciprocal
disciplinary proceeding, and (2) directing the attorney to show cause
within thirty days why identical reciprocal discipline should not be
imposed. Bar Counsel shall reply to the attorney’s response to
the show cause order no later than fifteen days after service of the
response. Alternatively, no later than fifteen days after the attorney’s
response was due, Bar Counsel may object to the imposition of reciprocal
discipline based upon the factors set forth in subsection (c) of this
section. In either case, Bar Counsel shall provide the Court with the
relevant portions of the record of the proceeding in the other disciplining
court, the statute and the rules that governed it, and a short statement
identifying all of the issues that the matter presents.
If Bar Counsel opposes the imposition of identical discipline, Bar Counsel
shall (1) recommend appropriate non-identical discipline or (2) request
that the matter be referred to the Board for its recommendation as to
The attorney may reply within ten days after service of Bar Counsel’s
(e) Action by the Court.
Upon receipt of the attorney’s response to the show cause order,
if any, and of any submission by Bar Counsel, the Court may refer the
matter to the Board for its consideration and recommendation. If the
Court decides that a referral to the Board is unnecessary, it shall
impose identical discipline unless the attorney demonstrates by clear
and convincing evidence, or the Court finds on the face of the record,
that one or more of the grounds set forth in subsection (c) of this
If the Court determines that identical discipline should not be imposed,
it may impose such discipline as it deems appropriate. In deciding what
non-identical discipline to impose, the Court shall accept the facts
found by the disciplining court unless it has made a finding under (1),
(5) of subsection (c) of this section. If the Court has made a finding
under one of these subsections, it shall direct Bar Counsel to institute
such proceedings as may be appropriate, including an original disciplinary
proceeding. In the absence of such a finding, the Court shall impose
(f) Effect of stay of discipline by disciplining
If the discipline imposed by another disciplining court is stayed, any
reciprocal discipline imposed by this Court shall be deferred until
the stay expires.
Section 12. Disbarment by Consent
(a) Required affidavit. An attorney who is
the subject of an investigation or a pending proceeding based on allegations
of misconduct may consent to disbarment, but only by delivering to Bar
Counsel an affidavit declaring the attorney's consent to disbarment
(1) That the consent is freely and voluntarily rendered, that
the attorney is not being subjected to coercion or duress, and that
the attorney is fully aware of the implication of consenting to disbarment;
(2) That the attorney is aware that there is currently pending
an investigation into, or a proceeding involving, allegations of misconduct,
the nature of which shall be specifically set forth in the affidavit;
(3) That the attorney acknowledges that the material facts upon
which the allegations of misconduct are predicated are true; and
(4) That the attorney submits the consent because the attorney
knows that if disciplinary proceedings based on the alleged misconduct
were brought, the attorney could not successfully defend against them.
(b) Action by the Board and the Court. Upon
receipt of the required affidavit, Bar Counsel shall file it and any
related papers with the Board for its review and approval. Upon such
approval, the Board shall promptly file it with the Court. The Court
thereafter may enter an order disbarring the attorney on consent.
(c) Access to records of disbarment by consent.
The order disbarring an attorney on consent shall be a matter of public
record. However, the affidavit required under subsection (a) of this
section shall not be publicly disclosed or made available for use in
any other proceeding except by order of the Court or upon written consent
of the attorney.
Section 12.1. Negotiated discipline other than disbarment by consent.
(a) Availability of negotiated discipline.
An attorney who is the subject of an investigation by Bar Counsel, or
of a pending petition under section 8 (c) of this rule charging misconduct,
may negotiate with Bar Counsel a disposition of the charges and sanction
at any time before a Hearing Committee has submitted to the Board a
report containing its findings and recommendation with respect to discipline.
(b) Documentation of a negotiated disposition.
(1) A petition for negotiated disposition, signed by Bar Counsel and
the attorney, shall contain:
(i) A statement of the nature of the matter that was brought to Bar
(ii) A stipulation of facts and charges, including citation to the Rules
of Professional Conduct that the attorney has violated;
(iii) A statement of any promises that have been made by Bar Counsel
to the attorney; and
(iv) An agreed upon sanction, with a statement of relevant precedent
and any circumstances in aggravation or mitigation of sanction that
the parties agree should be considered.
(2) In further support of a petition for negotiated disposition, the
attorney shall submit an affidavit which includes averments that:
(i) The disposition is freely and voluntarily entered into, the attorney
is not being subjected to coercion or duress and is fully aware of the
implications of the disposition, and Bar Counsel has made no promises
to the attorney other than what is contained in the petition for negotiated
(ii) The attorney is aware that there is currently pending an investigation
into, or a proceeding involving, allegations of misconduct;
(iii) The attorney acknowledges the truth of the material facts upon
which the misconduct described in the accompanying petition for negotiated
disposition is predicated; and
(iv) The attorney agrees to the disposition because the attorney believes
that he or she could not successfully defend against disciplinary proceedings
based on that misconduct.
The affidavit may recite any other facts the attorney chooses to present
in mitigation that support the agreed upon sanction.
(c) Hearing Committee review.
A petition for negotiated disposition and accompanying affidavit shall
be submitted to the Executive Attorney, who in turn shall assign it
to a Hearing Committee for review. The Board may adopt procedures for
assignment of petitions for negotiated disposition to Hearing Committees,
taking into account such matters as the pendency (and at what stage)
of a related section 8 (c) proceeding.
A Hearing Committee receiving a proposed negotiated disposition shall
hold a limited hearing. The hearing shall be public and the proceeding
a matter of public record. Prior to the hearing, Bar Counsel shall furnish
to any complainant the petition for negotiated disposition and affidavit,
together with notice of the hearing and of the complainant’s opportunity
to be present. Also before the hearing, the Hearing Committee or the
Chairperson may review Bar Counsel’s investigative file in camera
or meet with Bar Counsel ex parte to discuss the basis for Bar Counsel’s
recommendation of a negotiated disposition.
The Hearing Committee conducting the review shall recommend to the
Court approval of a petition for negotiated disposition if it finds
(1) The attorney has knowingly and voluntarily acknowledged the facts
and misconduct reflected in the petition and agreed to the sanction
set forth therein;
(2) The facts set forth in the petition or as shown at the hearing support
the admission of misconduct and the agreed upon sanction; and
(3) The sanction agreed upon is justified.
If the Hearing Committee rejects a petition for negotiated disposition,
it may not modify the proposed disposition on its own initiative, but
instead shall afford Bar Counsel and the attorney an opportunity to
revise the petition, and shall review any revised petition they submit.
(d) Review by the Court of a recommendation.
Upon receipt from a Hearing Committee of a recommendation to approve
a negotiated disposition, the Court shall review the recommendation
in accordance with its procedures for the imposition of uncontested
discipline. The Court in exceptional cases may request the views of
the Board concerning the appropriateness of a negotiated disposition.
If the Court accepts the recommendation, it shall impose the recommended
discipline in a per curiam opinion briefly describing the misconduct,
the specific Rule(s) of Professional Conduct violated, and the sanction
imposed. Unless the opinion provides otherwise, an opinion imposing
negotiated discipline may not be cited as precedent in contested disciplinary
proceedings except as provided in the second sentence of D.C. App. R.
No review by the Board or the Court may be had from a refusal of Bar
Counsel to agree to a disposition or from the rejection of a petition
for negotiated disposition by a Hearing Committee.
(e) Limitations on reference to a negotiated disposition
or admissions by an attorney.
Neither a Hearing Committee nor the Board may inquire of Bar Counsel
or an attorney who is the subject of a contested disciplinary proceeding
whether the parties considered entering into a negotiated disposition,
nor may a Hearing Committee or the Board, in imposing discipline following
a section 8 (c) proceeding, consider whether the attorney offered or
declined to enter into a negotiated disposition.
If a section 8 (c) proceeding commences or resumes after a petition
for negotiated disposition has been rejected, admissions made by the
attorney in the petition or accompanying affidavit, or in the associated
hearing, may not be used as evidence against the attorney except for
purposes of impeachment.
Section 13. Incompetent and Incapacitated Attorneys
(a) Mentally disabled attorneys. When an
attorney has been judicially declared to be mentally incompetent or
has been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital as an inpatient,
the Court, upon proper proof of that fact, shall enter an order suspending
that attorney from the practice of law for an indefinite period until
further order of the Court. The suspension shall be effective immediately.
A copy of the order shall be served upon the attorney, the attorney's
guardian, and the director of the mental hospital, if any, in such manner
as the Court may direct. If at any time thereafter the attorney is judicially
declared to be competent or discharged from inpatient status in the
mental hospital, the Court may dispense with further evidence that the
disability has ended and may direct the attorney's reinstatement to
the practice of law upon such terms as it deems appropriate.
(b) Application for medical examination.
If, at any time prior to its final disposition of a disciplinary proceeding,
the Board has good cause to believe that the mental or physical condition
of the attorney is relevant to the subject matter of the complaint and
is a factor which should be considered in the pending proceeding, the
Board shall direct Bar Counsel to apply to the Court for an order requiring
the attorney to submit to an appropriate examination. The application
shall be by petition, with notice to the attorney, and shall be accompanied
by a statement from Bar Counsel setting forth in detail the reasons
for the application and the relevance of the examination to the pending
(c) Attorneys who may be incapacitated. If
the Board has reason to believe that an attorney is incapacitated from
continuing to practice law because of mental infirmity or illness or
because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, the Board may petition
the Court to determine whether the attorney is so incapacitated. Upon
the filing of the Board's petition, the Court may take or direct such
action as it deems appropriate, including the examination of the attorney
by such qualified medical expert or experts as it shall designate. If
the Court concludes that the attorney is incapacitated from continuing
to practice law, it shall enter an order suspending the attorney on
the ground of such disability for an indefinite period, effective immediately
and until further order of the Court, and any pending disciplinary proceeding
against the attorney shall be held in abeyance. In a case of addiction
to drugs or intoxicants, the Court alternatively may consider the possibility
of probationary conditions. The Court may provide for such notice to
the attorney of proceedings in the matter as it deems appropriate and
may appoint counsel to represent the attorney if it determines that
the attorney is without adequate representation.
(d) Burden of proof. In a proceeding under
this section seeking an order of suspension, the burden of proof shall
be upon the Board. In a proceeding under this section seeking an order
terminating a suspension, the burden of proof shall be upon the suspended
(e) Claim of disability by attorney. If,
in the course of a disciplinary proceeding, the attorney claims to be
suffering from a disability because of mental or physical illness or
infirmity, or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, which makes
it impossible for the attorney to present an adequate defense, the Court
shall enter an order immediately suspending the attorney from the practice
of law until a determination is made of the attorney's capacity to practice
law in a proceeding under subsection (c) of this section.
(f) Action by the Court when attorney is not incapacitated.
If, in the course of a proceeding under this section or a disciplinary
proceeding, the Court determines that the attorney is not incapacitated
from practicing law, it shall take such action as it deems appropriate,
including the entry of an order directing the resumption of the disciplinary
proceeding against the attorney.
(g) Reinstatement of incapacitated attorney.
An attorney suspended under this section may apply for reinstatement
once a year, or at such shorter intervals as the Court may direct in
its order of suspension or any modification thereof. Upon the filing
of such application, the Court may take or direct such action as it
deems appropriate, including the examination of the attorney by such
qualified medical experts as the Court shall designate. In its discretion,
the Court may direct that the expense of such an examination shall be
paid by the attorney, and that evidence be presented establishing proof
of the attorney's competence and learning in the law, which may include
certification by the bar examiners of the attorney's successful completion
of an examination for admission to practice. An application for reinstatement
under this subsection shall be granted by the Court upon a showing by
the attorney, by clear and convincing evidence, that the disability
has ended and that the attorney is fit to resume the practice of law.
(h) Waiver of doctor-patient privilege. The
filing of an application for reinstatement under subsection (g) of this
section shall constitute a waiver of any doctor-patient privilege with
respect to any treatment of the attorney during the period of disability.
The attorney shall disclose the name and address of every physician
by whom, and every hospital in which, the attorney has been examined
or treated since the suspension and shall furnish to the Court written
consent to each to divulge such information and records as may be required
by Court-appointed medical experts.
Section 14. Disbarred and Suspended Attorneys
(a) Notice to clients in non-litigated matters.
An attorney ordered to be disbarred or suspended shall promptly notify
by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, all clients
on retainer and all clients being represented in pending matters other
than litigated or administrative matters or proceedings pending in any
court or agency, of the order of disbarment or suspension and of the
attorney's consequent inability to act as an attorney after the effective
date of the order, and shall advise such clients to seek legal advice
(b) Notice to clients in litigated matters.
An attorney ordered to be disbarred or suspended shall promptly notify,
by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, all clients
involved in litigated matters or administrative proceedings in any court
of the District of Columbia, or in pending matters before any District
of Columbia government agency, of the order of disbarment or suspension
and of the attorney's consequent inability to act as an attorney after
the effective date of the order. The notice shall advise the prompt
substitution of another attorney or attorneys. If the client fails to
obtain substitute counsel before the effective date of the order, the
disbarred or suspended attorney shall move pro se in the court
or agency in which the proceeding is pending for leave to withdraw.
(c) Notice to adverse parties. An attorney
ordered to be disbarred or suspended shall promptly notify, by registered
or certified mail, return receipt requested, the attorney or attorneys
for every adverse party in litigated matters or administrative proceedings
in any court of the District of Columbia, or in pending matters in any
District of Columbia administrative agency, of the order of disbarment
or suspension and of the attorney's consequent inability to act as an
attorney after the effective date of the order. The notice shall state
the mailing address of each client of the disbarred or suspended attorney
who is a party in the pending matter or proceeding.
(d) Delivery of client papers and property.
An attorney ordered to be disbarred or suspended shall promptly deliver
to all clients being represented in pending matters any papers or other
property to which the clients are entitled, or shall notify the clients
and any co-counsel of a suitable time when and place where the papers
and other property may be obtained, calling attention to any urgency
for obtaining the papers or other property.
(e) Imposition of discipline pendente lite.
The Court, sua sponte or on motion, may order that the discipline recommended
by the Board shall take effect pending the Court's determination of
the merits of the case.
(f) Effective date of discipline. Except
as provided in sections 10, 11, and 13 of this rule, and in subsection
(e) of this section, an order of disbarment or suspension shall be effective
thirty days after entry unless the Court directs otherwise. The disbarred
or suspended attorney, after entry of the order, shall not accept any
new retainer or engage as attorney for another in any new case or legal
matter of any nature. However, during the period between the date of
entry of the order and its effective date, the attorney may conclude
other work on behalf of a client on any matters which were pending on
the date of entry. If such work cannot be concluded, the attorney shall
so advise the client so that the client may make other arrangements.
(g) Required affidavit and registration statement.
Within ten days after the effective date of an order of disbarment or
suspension, the disbarred or suspended attorney shall file with the
Court and the Board an affidavit:
(1) Demonstrating with particularity, and with supporting proof,
that the attorney has fully complied with the provisions of the order
and with this rule;
(2) Listing all other state and federal jurisdictions and administrative
agencies to which the attorney is admitted to practice; and
(3) Certifying that a copy of the affidavit has been served on
The affidavit shall also state the residence or other
address of the attorney to which communications may thereafter be directed.
The Board may require such additional proof as it deems necessary. In
addition, for five years following the effective date of a disbarment
or suspension order, a disbarred or suspended attorney shall continue
to file a registration statement in accordance with Rule II, stating
the residence or other address to which communications may thereafter
be directed, so that the attorney may be located if a complaint is made
about any conduct of the attorney occurring before the disbarment or
suspension. See also section 16(c).
(h) Required records. An attorney ordered
to be disbarred or suspended, other than an attorney suspended under
section 13(a) or 13(c), shall keep and maintain records of the various
steps taken under this section, so that in any subsequent proceeding
proof of compliance with this section and with the disbarment or suspension
order will be available. The Court may require the attorney to submit
such proof as a condition precedent to the granting of any petition
for reinstatement. In the case of an attorney suspended under section
13(a) or 13(c), the Court shall enter such order as may be required
to compile and maintain all necessary records. See also sections 15(a)
Section 15. Protection of Clients' Interests When Attorney Becomes
(a) Appointment of Counsel. If an attorney
dies, disappears, or is suspended for incapacity or disability, and
there is no partner, associate, or other responsible attorney capable
of conducting the attorney's affairs, the Court, on motion of the Board,
shall appoint a member of the Bar to make an inventory of the attorney's
cases, to make appropriate disposition of the attorney's files, to distribute
as appropriate any funds in the attorney's escrow accounts, and to ensure
continuity of representation for the attorney's clients. The appointed
attorney shall file with the Board written acceptance of the appointment.
(b) Initiation of proceeding. Any person
may apply to the Board for action to be taken under this section. The
Board may also act on direction from the Court, on notice from Bar Counsel
or from any other source, or on its own motion.
(c) Establishment of eligibility. When directed
by the Chairperson of the Board, the Executive Attorney shall determine
that an attorney's affairs require proceeding under this section and
shall verify that determination to the Board.
(d) Selection of attorneys for appointment.
The Court may appoint any member of the Bar to perform any function
under subsection (a) of this section. The Executive Attorney may submit
to the Court the names of three attorneys who are willing and able to
accept such appointment
(e) Compensation for appointed attorneys.
The level of compensation to be paid under this section shall, in the
absence of extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Chairperson
of the Board, be the prevailing rate under the District of Columbia
Criminal Justice Act. If, after reasonable efforts, the Executive Attorney
cannot find three attorneys willing to accept compensation at that rate,
the list of names submitted by the Executive Attorney under subsection
(d) may include attorneys who will serve at a higher rate deemed appropriate
by the Executive Attorney. In such a case, the Executive Attorney shall
provide to the Chairperson of the Board a brief description, in writing,
of the nature and extent of the search for candidates for appointment.
(f) Duties of appointed attorney. As promptly
as possible after receiving an appointment by the Court under subsection
(a), the appointed attorney shall review the files, identify open cases,
and note those requiring action. The attorney shall provide to the Executive
Attorney, in writing, an estimate of the number of hours necessary to
complete the inventory and distribution. If the attorney is appointed
in the case of an attorney suspended under section 13(a) or 13(c), the
appointed attorney shall, to the fullest extent possible, compile and
maintain such records as the Court may require under section 14(g).
(g) Budget amendments. If the Executive Attorney
reasonably concludes that the estimated payment of fees for services
to be performed under this section will exceed the amount available
for that purpose in the budget of the Board, the Executive Attorney
shall, on approval by the Chairperson of the Board, submit a report
to the Board of Governors seeking a budget amendment before authorizing
the appointed attorney to proceed.
(h) Contact with clients. The appointed attorney
shall consult with clients whose cases are open to discuss the disposition
of their cases and to make arrangements to distribute client papers
(i) Disposition of cases. After consulting
each client, the appointed attorney may refer that client’s open
cases to attorneys willing to handle such matters, may advise the client
to consult the Bar for assistance in finding new counsel, or may elect,
with the consent of the client, to assume responsibility for one or
more of the client’s cases. In all other matters the attorney
shall return the client’s files to the client.
(j) Monthly statements of time and expenses.
The appointed attorney shall submit to the Executive Attorney each month
a detailed statement of the time spent and expenses incurred in carrying
out the order of appointment.
(k) Review of statements and payment. The
Executive Attorney shall promptly review the appointed attorney's statement
and submit it to the Chairperson of the Board, together with a recommendation
for the Chairperson's review and, if appropriate, approval. Upon approval
of the statement by the Chairperson of the Board, the Executive Attorney
shall authorize payment to the appointed attorney by submitting a copy
of the approved statement to the Board of Governors. The appointed attorney
shall receive compensation under this section only for services rendered
in carrying out the order of appointment. If the appointed attorney
undertakes any substantive work on a case, payment for such work shall
be made by the client in accordance with a fee agreement between the
appointed attorney and the client.
(l) Confidentiality. The appointed attorney
shall not disclose any information obtained in a client file without
the consent of the client to whom the file relates, except as necessary
to carry out the order of appointment.
Section 16. Reinstatement
(a) Restrictions on reinstatement. A disbarred
attorney, or a suspended attorney required to furnish proof of rehabilitation
under section 3(a)(2) of this rule, shall not resume the practice of
law until reinstated by order of the Court. A disbarred attorney not
otherwise ineligible for reinstatement may not apply for reinstatement
until the expiration of at least five years from the effective date
of the disbarment. See also section 14(h).
(b) Reinstatement of attorneys suspended for disability.
An attorney who has been suspended indefinitely because of disability
under section 13 of this rule may move for reinstatement in accordance
with that section, but reinstatement shall not be ordered except on
a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has ended
and that the attorney is fit to resume the practice of law.
(c) Reinstatement of attorneys suspended on other
grounds. An attorney suspended for more than one year before September
1, 1989, shall be subject to the reinstatement requirements in effect
on the date of suspension. An attorney suspended for a specific period
of time on or after September 1, 1989, without being required to furnish
proof of rehabilitation under section 3(a)(2) of this rule shall be
reinstated without further proceedings upon the expiration of the period
specified in the order of suspension, provided that the attorney has
timely filed with the Court the affidavit required by section 14(g)
and such other proof as may be required under section 14(h). Notwithstanding
the foregoing, a suspended attorney shall not be eligible for reinstatement
until a period of time equal to the period of suspension shall have
elapsed following the attorney's compliance with section 14, and a disbarred
attorney shall not be eligible for reinstatement until five years shall
have elapsed following the attorney's compliance with section 14. If
the attorney has failed in any respect to comply with section 14, the
Board shall so notify the Court, and the Court thereafter shall enter
an appropriate order.
(d) Contested petitions for reinstatement.
(1) A petition for reinstatement by a disbarred attorney or an attorney
suspended for misconduct rather than for disability and required to
provide proof of rehabilitation shall be filed with the Board. If the
attorney is not eligible for reinstatement, or if the Board determines
that the petition is insufficient or defective on its face, the Board
may dismiss the petition; otherwise it shall refer the petition to Bar
Counsel for a determination of whether Bar Counsel opposes the petition.
If Bar Counsel opposes reinstatement, the Executive Attorney shall promptly
schedule a hearing before a Hearing Committee at which the attorney
seeking reinstatement shall have the burden of proof by clear and convincing
evidence. Such proof shall establish:
(a) That the attorney has the moral qualifications, competency,
and learning in law required for readmission; and
(b) That the resumption of the practice of law by the attorney
will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the Bar, or
to the administration of justice, or subversive to the public interest.
(2) Within sixty days after the conclusion of its hearing on reinstatement
and receipt of the final briefs by the parties, the Hearing Committee
shall submit to the Court a report containing its findings and recommendation,
together with a record of the proceedings and any briefs of the parties.
The record shall include a transcript of the hearing. Upon the filing
of the Hearing Committee’s findings and recommendation, the Court
shall schedule the matter for consideration. In its discretion, the
Court may request a recommendation by the Board concerning reinstatement.
(e) Uncontested petitions for reinstatement.
A petition for reinstatement by a disbarred attorney or a suspended
attorney who is required to prove fitness to practice as a condition
of reinstatement, which is uncontested by Bar Counsel following a suitable
investigation, may be considered by the Court on the available record
and submissions of the parties. In every uncontested matter, Bar Counsel
shall submit to the Court a report stating why Bar Counsel is satisfied
that the attorney meets the criteria for reinstatement. The Court may
grant the petition, deny it, or request a recommendation by the Board
(f) Conditions of reinstatement. If the attorney
is found unfit to resume the practice of law, the petition shall be
denied. If the attorney is found fit to resume the practice of law,
the Court shall enter an order of reinstatement, which may be conditioned
upon the making of partial or complete restitution to persons harmed
by the misconduct which led to the suspension or disbarment, or upon
the payment of all or part of the costs of the reinstatement proceedings,
or both. The reinstatement may also be conditioned upon the furnishing
of evidence, in a form determined by the Court, of the attorney’s
successful completion of an examination for reinstatement subsequent
to the date of suspension or disbarment. The Court may impose such other
conditions on reinstatement as it deems appropriate. Failure to comply
with conditions of reinstatement may result in revocation of the reinstatement
order. See also section 2 (b)(3).
(g) Resubmission of petitions for reinstatement.
If a petition for reinstatement is denied, no further petition for reinstatement
may be filed until the expiration of at least one year following the
denial unless the order of denial provides otherwise.
Section 17. Confidentiality
(a) Disciplinary proceedings. Except as otherwise
provided in this rule or as the Court may otherwise order, all proceedings
involving allegations of misconduct by an attorney shall be kept confidential
until either a petition has been filed under section 8 (c) or an informal
admonition has been issued. All proceedings before the Hearing Committee
and the Board shall be open to the public, and the petition, together
with any exhibits introduced into evidence, any pleadings filed by the
parties, and any transcript of the proceeding, shall be available for
public inspection. If an informal admonition is issued, the letter of
admonition from Bar Counsel informing the attorney of the grounds for
the admonition shall be available for public inspection. Bar Counsel’s
files and records, however, shall not be available for public inspection
except to the extent that portions thereof are introduced into evidence
in a proceeding before the Hearing Committee.
(b) Disability proceedings. All proceedings
involving allegations of disability on the part of an attorney shall
be kept confidential unless and until the Court enters an order suspending
the attorney under section 13 of this rule.
(c) Informal admonitions. Bar Counsel may
disclose information pertaining to proceedings resulting in informal
admonitions to any court, to any other judicial tribunal or disciplinary
agency, to any duly authorized law enforcement officer or agency conducting
an investigation, to any representative of a public agency considering
an attorney for judicial or public employment or appointment, or to
any representative of another bar considering the application of an
attorney for admission to such bar. Bar Counsel may also make such disclosure
to a duly authorized representative of the District of Columbia Bar
with respect to any person whom the Bar is considering for possible
employment, appointment to a Bar position related to attorney discipline
or legal ethics, or recommendation to this Court for appointment to
any board, committee, or other body.
(d) Protective orders. To protect the interests
of the complainant or of any other person, the Board may, upon application
and for good cause shown, and upon notice to the attorney and an opportunity
to be heard, issue a protective order prohibiting the disclosure of
confidential or privileged information or of any documents listed in
the order, including subpoenas and depositions, and directing that any
proceedings before the Board or a Hearing Committee be so conducted
as to implement the order.
(e) Limited disclosure on motion. The Court
on motion, filed ex parte and under seal by Bar Counsel, may
authorize disclosure of otherwise confidential information to a duly
constituted grand jury for use in the performance of its official duties.
Bar Counsel’s motion shall be filed only in response to grand
jury subpoena. For good cause shown, the Court on motion may authorize
disclosure of otherwise confidential information through discovery or
appropriate processes in any civil, criminal, or administrative action,
subject to such protective order as the Court may deem appropriate,
or may authorize disclosure of otherwise confidential information to
local, state or federal governmental agencies not associated with law
enforcement or attorney discipline subject to appropriate protections
(f) Cooperation with law enforcement and other
disciplinary authorities. Notwithstanding any other provision of
this Rule, Bar Counsel may file a written request with the Board for
permission to communicate information about any disciplinary matter
to law enforcement agencies, the Committee on Admissions, the Committee
on Unauthorized Practice, the Clients’ Security Trust Fund, or
a state or federal attorney disciplinary agency, board, or committee
that has a legitimate interest in such matter. Permission to communicate
such information may be granted, in writing, by the Chairperson of the
Board or the Chairperson’s designated Board member upon good cause
shown and subject to any limitations or conditions the Board may impose,
including appropriate protections of confidentiality. Communication
under this provision may be made either during the course of Bar Counsel’s
investigation or following such investigation.
Section 18. Subpoenas
(a) Issuance of subpoenas. In carrying out
this rule, any member of the Board, any member of a Hearing Committee
in matters before the Committee, the Executive Attorney, or Bar Counsel
in matters under investigation may, subject to Superior Court Civil
Rule 45, compel by subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production
of pertinent books, papers, documents, and other tangible objects at
the time and place designated in the subpoena. An attorney who is a
respondent in a disciplinary proceeding or is under investigation by
Bar Counsel may, subject to Superior Court Civil Rule 45, compel by
subpoena the attendance of witnesses and the production of pertinent
books, papers, documents, and other tangible objects before a Hearing
Committee after formal disciplinary proceedings are instituted. Subpoena
and witness fees and mileage costs shall be the same as those in the
(b) Subpoenas issued during investigations.
A subpoena issued during the course of an investigation shall clearly
state on its face that it is issued in connection with a confidential
investigation under this rule. A consultation with an attorney by a
person subpoenaed shall not be regarded as a breach of confidentiality.
(c) Quashing subpoenas. Any challenge to
the validity of a subpoena issued in accordance with this section shall
be heard and determined by a Hearing Committee designated by the Executive
Attorney. The decision of the Hearing Committee shall not be subject
to an interlocutory appeal but may be reviewed by the Board and subsequently
by the Court as part of their review of the case in which the subpoena
(d) Enforcement of subpoenas. The Court may,
upon proper application, enforce the attendance and testimony of any
witnesses and the production of any documents or tangible objects so
(e) Subpoena pursuant to law of another jurisdiction.
Whenever a subpoena is sought in the District of Columbia pursuant to
the law of another jurisdiction for use in lawyer discipline or disability
investigations or proceedings in that jurisdiction, and where the application
for issuance of the subpoena has been duly approved or authorized under
the law of that jurisdiction, Bar Counsel (in a case where the request
is by the disciplinary authority of the foreign jurisdiction) or an
attorney admitted to practice in this jurisdiction (in a case where
the request is by a respondent in a proceeding in the foreign jurisdiction),
may issue a subpoena as provided in this Section to compel the attendance
of witnesses and production of documents in the District of Columbia,
or elsewhere as agreed by the witnesses, for use in such foreign investigations
or proceedings or in defense thereof. Service, enforcement and challenges
to such subpoenas shall be as provided in this Section and incorporated
(f) Request for foreign subpoena in aid of proceeding
in this jurisdiction. In a lawyer discipline or disability investigation
or proceeding pending in this jurisdiction, both Bar Counsel and a respondent
may apply for the issuance of subpoenas in other jurisdictions, pursuant
to the rules of those jurisdictions, where such application is in aid
of such investigation or proceeding or in defense thereto, and to the
extent that Bar Counsel or the respondent could issue compulsory process
or obtain formal prehearing discovery under the provisions of this Rule
or the rules issued by the Board on Professional Responsibility.
Section 19. Miscellaneous Matters
Complaints submitted to the Board or Bar Counsel shall be absolutely
privileged, and no claim or action predicated thereon may be instituted
or maintained. Members of the Board, its employees, members of Hearing
Committees, Bar Counsel, and all assistants and employees of Bar Counsel,
all persons engaged in counseling, evaluating or monitoring other attorneys
pursuant to a Board or Court order or a diversion agreement, and all
assistants or employees of persons engaged in such counseling, evaluating
or monitoring shall be immune from disciplinary complaint under this
rule and from civil suit for any conduct in the course of their official
(b) Complaints against members of the disciplinary
system. Disciplinary complaints against members of the Board involving
activities other than those performed within the scope of their duties
as Board members shall be submitted directly to the Court. Disciplinary
complaints against Hearing Committee members, the Executive Attorney,
or Bar Counsel involving activities other than those performed within
the scope of their duties as such shall be submitted directly to the
(c) Effect of settlement, compromise, restitution,
or refusal to proceed. Neither unwillingness nor neglect by the
complainant to sign a disciplinary complaint or to prosecute a charge,
nor settlement, compromise, or restitution, shall in itself justify
abatement of an investigation into the conduct of an attorney.
(d) Related pending litigation. The processing
of a disciplinary complaint shall not be deferred or abated because
of substantial similarity to the material allegations of pending criminal,
civil, or administrative proceedings, unless authorized by the Board
or a Contact Member for good cause shown.
(e) Service. Service upon the attorney of
a petition instituting formal disciplinary proceedings shall be made
by personal service by any person authorized by the Chairperson of the
Board, or by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested,
to the address shown in the most recent registration statement filed
by the attorney pursuant to Rule II, or other last known address. Service
by registered or certified mail shall not be effective unless Bar Counsel
files in the record of the proceeding proof of receipt of the petition
by the attorney. Service of any other paper or notice required by this
rule shall, unless otherwise provided in this rule, be made in accordance
with Superior Court Civil Rule 5.
(f) Required records. Every attorney subject
to the disciplinary jurisdiction of this Court shall maintain complete
records of the handling, maintenance, and disposition of all funds,
securities, and other properties belonging to another person, or to
a corporation, association, partnership, or other entity, at any time
in the attorney's possession, from the time of receipt to the time of
final distribution, and shall preserve such records for a period of
five years after final distribution of such funds, securities, or other
properties or any portion thereof.
(g) Expenses. The salaries of Bar Counsel
and the Executive Attorney, their expenses, the expenses of the members
of the Board and Hearing Committees, and other expenses incurred in
the implementation or administration of this rule shall be paid out
of the funds of the Bar.
Section 20. Approved Depositories for
Lawyers’ Trust Accounts and District of Columbia Interest on Lawyers'
Trust Accounts Program
(a) To be listed as an approved depository for lawyers’
trust accounts, a financial institution shall file an undertaking with
the Board on Professional Responsibility (BPR), on a form to be provided
by the board's office, agreeing (1) promptly to report to the Office
of Bar Counsel each instance in which an instrument that would properly
be payable if sufficient funds were available has been presented against
a lawyer's or law firm's specially designated account at such institution
at a time when such account contained insufficient funds to pay such
instrument, whether or not the instrument was honored and irrespective
of any overdraft privileges that may attach to such account; and (2)
for financial institutions that elect to offer and maintain District
of Columbia IOLTA (DC IOLTA) accounts, to fulfill the requirements of
subsections (f) and (g) below. In addition to undertaking to make the
above-specified reports and, for financial institutions that elect to
offer and maintain DC IOLTA accounts, to fulfill the requirements of
subsections (f) and (g) below, approved depositories, wherever they
are located, shall also undertake to respond promptly and fully to subpoenas
from the Office of Bar Counsel that seek a lawyer's or law firm's specially
designated account records, notwithstanding any objections that might
be raised based upon the territorial limits on the effectiveness of
such subpoenas or upon the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia
Court of Appeals to enforce them.
Such undertakings shall apply to all branches of the financial institution
and shall not be canceled by the institution except upon thirty (30)
days written notice to the Office of Bar Counsel. The failure of an
approved depository to comply with any of its undertakings hereunder
shall be grounds for immediate removal of such institution from the
list of BPR- approved depositories.
(b) Reports to Bar Counsel by approved depositories
pursuant to paragraph (a) above shall contain the following information:
(1) In the case of a dishonored
instrument, the report shall be identical to the over-draft notice
customarily forwarded to the institution's other regular account holders.
(2) In the case of an instrument
that was presented against insufficient funds but was honored, the report
shall identify the depository, the lawyer or law firm maintaining the
account, the account number, the date of presentation for payment and
the payment date of the instrument, as well as the amount of overdraft
The report to the Office of Bar Counsel shall be made simultaneously
with, and within the time period, if any, provided by law for notice
of dishonor. If an instrument presented against insufficient funds was
honored, the institution's report shall be mailed to Bar Counsel within
five (5) business days of payment of the instrument.
(c) The establishment of a specially designated account
at an approved depository shall be conclusively deemed to be consent
by the lawyer or law firm maintaining such account to that institution's
furnishing to the Office of Bar Counsel all reports and information
required hereunder. No approved depository shall incur any liability
by virtue of its compliance with the requirements of this rule, except
as might otherwise arise from bad faith, intentional misconduct, or
any other acts by the approved depository or its employees which, unrelated
to this rule, would create liability.
(d) The designation of a financial institution as
an approved depository pursuant to this rule shall not be deemed to
be a warranty, representation, or guaranty by the District of Columbia
Court of Appeals, the District of Columbia Bar, the District of Columbia
Board on Professional Responsibility, the Office of Bar Counsel, or
the District of Columbia Bar Foundation as to the financial soundness,
business practices, or other attributes of such institution. Approval
of an institution under this rule means only that the institution has
undertaken to meet the reporting and other requirements enumerated in
paragraph (a) and (b) above.
(e) Nothing in this rule shall preclude a financial
institution from charging a lawyer or law firm for the reasonable cost
of producing the reports and records required by this rule.
(f) Participation by financial institutions in the
DC IOLTA program is voluntary. A financial institution that elects to
offer and maintain DC IOLTA accounts shall fulfill the following requirements:
(1) The institution shall
pay no less on its DC IOLTA accounts than the interest rate or dividend
rate in (A) or (B):
The highest interest rate or dividend rate generally available from
the institution to its non–IOLTA customers when the DC IOLTA account
meets or exceeds the same minimum balance or other eligibility qualifications
on its non-IOLTA accounts, if any. In determining the highest interest
rate or dividend rate generally available from the institution to its
non-IOLTA customers, an institution may consider in addition to the
balance in the DC IOLTA account, factors customarily considered by the
institution when setting interest rates or dividend rates for its non-IOLTA
customers, provided that such factors do not discriminate between DC
IOLTA accounts and non–IOLTA accounts and that these factors
do not include the fact that the account is a DC IOLTA account.
An institution may offer, and the lawyer or law firm may request, an
account that provides a mechanism for the overnight investment of balances
in the DC IOLTA account in an interest- or dividend-bearing account
that is a daily (overnight) financial institution repurchase agreement
or an open–end money–market fund.
An institution may choose to pay the higher interest rate or dividend
rate on a DC IOLTA account in lieu of establishing it as a higher rate
A "benchmark" rate set periodically by the Foundation that
reflects the Foundation’s estimate of an overall comparability
rate for accounts in the DC IOLTA program and that is net of allowable
reasonable fees. When applicable, the Foundation will express the benchmark
rate in relation to the Federal Funds Target Rate.
(2) Nothing in this Rule shall preclude a financial
institution from paying a higher interest rate or dividend on a DC IOLTA
account than described in subparagraph (f)(1) above.
(3) Allowable reasonable fees are the only fees and
service charges that may be deducted by a financial institution from
interest or dividends earned on a DC IOLTA account. Allowable reasonable
fees may be deducted from interest or dividends on a DC IOLTA account
only at the rates and in accordance with the customary practices of
the financial institution for non-IOLTA customers. No fees or service
charges other than allowable reasonable fees may be assessed against
the accrued interest or dividends on a DC IOLTA account. Any fees and
service charges other than allowable reasonable fees shall be the sole
responsibility of, and may only be charged to, the lawyer or law firm
maintaining the DC IOLTA account. Allowable reasonable fees in excess
of the interest or dividends earned on one DC IOLTA account for any
period shall not be taken from interest or dividends earned on any other
DC IOLTA account or accounts or from the principal of any DC IOLTA account.
Nothing in this rule shall preclude a financial institution from electing
to waive any fees and service charges on a DC IOLTA account.
(g) On forms approved by the Foundation, a financial
institution that maintains DC IOLTA accounts shall:
(1) Remit all interest or dividends, net of allowable reasonable fees,
if any, on the average monthly balance in each DC IOLTA account, or
as otherwise computed in accordance with the institution's standard
accounting practice, at least quarterly, to the Foundation. The institution
may remit the interest or dividends on all of its DC IOLTA accounts
in a lump sum; however, the institution shall provide, for each individual
DC IOLTA account, to the Foundation the information described in subparagraph
(g)(2), and to the lawyer or law firm the information in subparagraph
(2) Transmit with each remittance to the Foundation
a report showing the following information for each DC IOLTA account:
the name of the lawyer or law firm in whose name the account is registered,
the amount of interest or dividends earned, the rate and type of interest
or dividend applied, the amount of any allowable reasonable fees assessed
during the remittance period, the net amount of interest or dividends
remitted for the period, the average account balance for the remittance
period, and such other information as is reasonably required by the
(3) Transmit to the lawyer or law firm in whose name
the account is registered a periodic account statement in accordance
with normal procedures for reporting to depositors.
(h) The Foundation shall maintain records of each
remittance and statement received from a financial institution for a
period of at least three years and shall, upon request, promptly make
available to a lawyer or law firm the records or statements pertaining
to that lawyer's or law firm's DC IOLTA accounts.
(i) All interest and dividends transmitted to the
Foundation shall, after deduction for the necessary and reasonable administrative
expenses of the Foundation for operation of the DC IOLTA program, be
distributed by the Foundation for the following purposes: (1) at least
eighty–five percent for the support of legal assistance programs
providing legal and related assistance to poor persons in the District
of Columbia who would otherwise be unable to obtain legal assistance;
and (2) up to fifteen percent for those programs to improve the administration
of justice in the District of Columbia as are specifically approved
from time to time by this court.
(j) Definitions. As used in this rule, the terms below shall have the
(1) "Allowable reasonable fees" for DC IOLTA accounts are
per check charges, per deposit charges, a fee in lieu of a minimum balance,
federal deposit insurance fees, sweep fees, and a reasonable DC IOLTA
account administrative or maintenance fee.
(2) "Foundation" means the District of Columbia Bar Foundation,
(3) "Interest- or dividend-bearing account" means (i) an interest-bearing
account, or (ii) an investment product which is a daily (overnight)
financial institution repurchase agreement or an open-end money-market
fund. A daily (overnight) financial institution repurchase agreement
must be fully collateralized by U.S. Government Securities and may be
established only with an eligible institution that is "well-capitalized"
or "adequately capitalized" as those terms are defined by
applicable federal statutes and regulations. An open-end money-¬market
fund must be invested solely in U.S. Government Securities or repurchase
agreements fully collateralized by U.S. Government Securities, must
hold itself out as a "money-market fund" as that term is defined
by federal statutes and regulations under the Investment Company Act
of 1940, and, at the time of the investment, must have total assets
of at least $250,000,000.
(4) "DC IOLTA account" means an interest- or dividend-bearing
account established by a lawyer or law firm for IOLTA-eligible funds
at a financial institution from which funds may be withdrawn upon request
by the depositor as soon as permitted by law.
(5) “IOLTA-eligible funds" means those funds from a client
or third-party that are nominal in amount or are expected to be held
for a short period of time, and that cannot earn income for the client
or third party in excess of the costs incurred to secure such income.
(6) "Law Firm" - Includes a partnership of lawyers, a professional
or non-profit corporation of lawyers, and combination thereof engaged
in the practice of law.
(7) "Financial Institution" - Includes banks, savings and
loan associations, credit unions, savings banks and any other business
that accepts for deposit funds held in trust by lawyers or law firms
which is authorized by federal, District of Columbia, or state law to
do business in the District of Columbia or the state in which the financial
institution is situated and that maintains accounts which are insured
by an agency or instrumentality of the United States.