Rule 32

Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement

Proceedings under these rules shall be exempt from all statutes of limitations.

Commentary

Statutes of limitation are wholly inappropriate in lawyer disciplinary proceedings. Conduct of a lawyer, no matter when it has occurred, is always relevant to the question of fitness to practice. The time between the commission of the alleged misconduct and the filing of a complaint predicated thereon may be pertinent to whether and to what extent discipline should be imposed, but should not limit the agency's power to investigate. An unreasonable delay in the presentation of a charge of misconduct might make it impossible for an attorney to procure witnesses or the testimony available at an earlier time to meet such a charge.

Discipline and disability proceedings serve to protect the public from lawyers who are unfit to practice; they measure the lawyer's qualifications in light of certain conduct, rather than punish for specific transgressions. Misconduct by a lawyer whenever it occurs reflects upon the lawyer's fitness.

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