Faculty Scholarship

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Debra Curtis, Attorney Discipline Nationwide: A Comparative Analysis of Process and Statistics, 35 Journal of the Legal Profession 209 (2011). This purpose of this article is to examine the process and statistics of attorney discipline nationwide and draw conclusions about information about them available to the public who may be hiring attorneys. Attorney discipline systems are promulgated individually by states as part of each state’s licensing and attorney regulation system. While the ABA has formulated model rules of professional conduct which most states have adopted, these rules serve as the conduct guidelines for attorney behavior. Each state ultimately decides what, within its licensing system, is a rule violation, to what procedure an attorney is entitled when accused of such, and if necessary, any penalties for violation of those rules under the stated procedures. Because many state supreme courts have used power to frequently delegate the enforcement process to State bar associations, organized lawyer associations have often had a voice in their own professional regulation. While states individually may publish discipline information, finding this information in one place to make comparisons among states and of lawyers licensed in multiple jurisdictions is difficult. This article reviews, state by state, each state bar’s rules of discipline and their discipline system. Along with an overview of each of those systems, this article also presents statistics regarding those disciplines during a 10-year period. Last, this article offers analysis and conclusions as to the problems and status of these competing systems.

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Journal of the Legal Profession

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