Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement
Generally. Whenever disciplinary counsel has probable cause to believe that bank accounts of a lawyer that contain, should contain or have contained funds belonging to clients have not been properly maintained or that the funds have not been properly handled, disciplinary counsel shall request the approval of the chair of a hearing committee selected in order from the roster established by the board to initiate an investigation for the purpose of verifying the accuracy and integrity of all bank accounts maintained by the lawyer. If the reviewing member approves, counsel shall proceed to verify the accuracy of the bank accounts. If the reviewing member denies approval, counsel may submit the request for approval to one other chair of a hearing committee selected in order from the roster established by the board.
Confidentiality. Investigations, examinations, and verifications shall be conducted so as to preserve the private and confidential nature of the lawyer's records insofar as is consistent with these rules and the lawyer-client privilege.
Evidence that one account of a lawyer has not been properly maintained or that funds of one client have not been properly handled should constitute cause for verifying the accuracy of all accounts containing the funds of any client maintained by the lawyer.
Examples of cause warranting audit include a check drawn on a client trust account returned for insufficient funds, failure to timely distribute funds to a client, or failure to file a certificate of compliance with the jurisdiction's audit rule.
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