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July 20, 2020

Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement

About the Model Rules

The Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement were adopted by the American Bar Association House of Delegates on August 8, 1989, and were subsequesntly amended on: August 11, 1993; August 5, 1996; February 8, 1999; and August 12, 2002.

Russian Translation (2009)

  • Table of Contents

Nothing contained herein is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel.



Preamble Authority of the Court

Structure and Scope

Rule 1  Comprehensive Lawyer Regulatory System

  • Component Agencies
  • Central Intake Office
  • Disciplinary Districts

Rule 2  The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of [State Name]

  • Agency Appointment Election of Officers Quorum Compensation and Expenses Abstention and Disqualification of Board Members Powers and Duties

Rule 3  Hearing Committees

  • Appointment
  • Terms of Office
  • Quorum
  • Powers and Duties
  • Powers and Duties of Hearing Committee Chair
  • Abstention and Disqualification of Hearing Committee Members

Rule 4 Disciplinary Counsel

  • Appointment
  • Powers and Duties
  • Advisory Opinions Prohibited
  • Ex Parte Communication with Disciplinary Counsel
  • Disqualification

Rule 5 Expenses

Rule 6 Jurisdiction

  • Lawyers Admitted to Practice
  • Former Judges
  • Incumbent Judges
  • Powers Not Assumed

Rule 7 Roster of Lawyers

Rule 8 Periodic Assessment of Lawyers

  • Requirement
  • Exemption of Judges
  • Suspension for Nonpayment
  • Reinstatement after Payment
  • Registration Statement
  • Receipt Demonstrating Filing of Registration Statement
  • Suspension for Failure to File Registration Statements
  • Application for Transfer to Inactive Status
  • Reinstatement from Inactive Status

Rule 9 Grounds for Discipline/Lesser Misconduct

  • Grounds for Discipline
  • Lesser Misconduc

Rule 10 Sanctions

  • Types of Sanctions
  • Conditions
  • Factors to be Considered in Imposing Sanctions
  • Public Nature of Sanctions

Procedure for Disciplinary Proceedings

Rule 11 Generally

  • Evaluation
  • Investigation
  • Admonition or Probation Imposition
  • Formal Charges
  • Review by Board
  • Review by the Court
  • Alternatives to Discipline Program

Rule 12 Immunity

Rule 13 Service

  • Service of Petition
  • Service of Other Papers

Rule 14 Subpoena Power

  • Oaths
  • Investigatory Subpoenas
  • Subpoenas for Deposition or Hearing
  • Enforcement of Subpoenas
  • Quashing Subpoena
  • Witnesses and Fees
  • Subpoena Pursuant to Law of Another Jurisdiction

Rule 15 Discovery

  • Scope
  • Resolution of Disputes
  • Civil Rules Not Applicable

Rule 16 Access to Disciplinary Information

  • Availability of Information
  • Confidentiality
  • Public Proceedings
  • Proceedings Alleging Disability
  • Protective Orders
  • Request for Nonpublic Information
  • Notice to Lawyer
  • Release Without Notice
  • Notice to National Lawyer Regulatory Data Bank
  • Duty of Officials and Employees of the Agency

Rule 17 Dissemination of Disciplinary Information

  • Notice to Disciplinary Agencies
  • Public Notice of Discipline Imposed
  • Notice to the Courts

Rule 18 Additional Rules of Procedure

  • Nature of Proceedings
  • Rules Governed by Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence
  • Standard of Proof
  • Burden of Proof
  • Prehearing Conference
  • Hearings Recorded
  • Related Pending Litigation
  • Hearings on Lesser Misconduct
  • Delay Caused by Complainant
  • Effect of Time Limitations
  • Complaints Against Disciplinary Agency Members

Rule 19 Lawyers Found Guilty of a Crime

  • Transmittal of Certificate of Conviction by Clerk of Trial Court
  • Determination of "Serious Crime"
  • Definition of "Serious Crime"
  • Immediate Interim Suspension
  • Conviction as Conclusive Evidence
  • Automatic Reinstatement from Interim Suspension upon Reversal of Conviction
  • Notice to Clients and Others on Interim Suspension

Rule 20 Interim Suspension for Threat of Harm

  • Transmittal of Evidence
  • Immediate Interim Suspension
  • Notice to Clients
  • Motion for Dissolution of Interim Suspension

Rule 21 Disciplinary by Consent

  • Board Approval of Tendered Admission
  • Review of Discipline by Consent
  • Discontinuance of Jurisdiction
  • Affidavit of Consent
  • Order of Discipline

Rule 22 Reciprocal Discipline and Reciprocal Disability Inactive Status

  • Disciplinary Counsel Duty to Obtain Order of Discipline or Disability Inactive Status from Other Jurisdiction
  • Notice Served Upon Respondent
  • Effect of Stay in Other Jurisdiction
  • Discipline to be Imposed
  • Conclusiveness of Adjudication in Other Jurisdictions

Rule 22 Amendments Adopted by the ABA House of Delegates in August 2002

Rule 23 Proceedings in Which Lawyer is Declared to be Incompentent or Alleged to be Incapacitated

  • Involuntary Commitment or Adjudication of Incompetency
  • Inability to Properly Defend
  • Proceedings to Determine Incapacity
  • Public Notice of Transfer to Disability Inactive Status
  • Reinstatement from Disability Inactive Status

Rule 24 Reinstates Following a Suspension Following a Suspension of Six Months or Less

Rule 25 Reinstatement After Suspension for More Than Six Months and Readmission

  • Generally
  • Petition
  • Service of Petition
  • Publication of Notice of Petition
  • Criteria for Reinstatement and Readmission
  • Review of Petition
  • Hearing; Report
  • Decision as to Reinstatement or Readmission
  • Conditions of Reinstatement or Readmission
  • Reciprocal Reinstatement or Readmission

[Rule 26 Abatement or Modificiation of Conditions of Discipline, Reinstatement, Readmission]

Rule 27 Notice to Clients, Adverse Parties, and Other CounselL

  • Recipients of Notice; Contents
  • Special Notice
  • Duty to Maintain Records
  • Return of Client Property
  • Effective Date of Order; Refund of Fees
  • Withdrawal from Representation
  • New Representation Prohibited
  • Affidavit Filed with Court

Rule 28 Appointment of Counsel to Protect Clients' Interests When Respondent is Transferred to Disability Inactive Status, Suspended, Disbarred, Disappears, or Die

  • Inventory of Lawyer Files
  • Protection for Records Subject to Inventory

Rule 29 Maintenance of Trust Funds in Approved Financial Institutions; Overdraft Notification

  • Clearly Identified Trust Accounts in Approved Financial Institutions Required
  • Overdraft Notification Agreement Required
  • Overdraft Reports
  • Timing of Reports
  • Consent By Lawyers
  • Costs G. Definitions

Rule 30 Verification of Bank Accounts

  • Generally
  • Confidentiality

Rule 31 Appeals by Complainant

  • From Disposition by Central Intake Office
  • From Disposition by Disciplinary Agency

Rule 32 Statute of Limitations

Rule 33 Failure to Answer/Failure to  Appear

  • Failure to Answer
  • Failure to Appear

Rule 34 Counsel for Indigent Respondent

Effective Date

Appendix A

Subject Guide