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July 16, 2020

Rule 27

Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement

  1. Recipients of Notice; Contents. Within [ten] days after the date of the court order imposing discipline or transfer to disability inactive status, a respondent disbarred, transferred to disability inactive status, placed on interim suspension, or suspended for more than [six months] shall notify or cause to be notified by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested,
  2. (1) all clients being represented in pending matters;
    (2) any co-counsel in pending matters; and
    (3) any opposing counsel in pending matters, or in the absence of opposing counsel, the adverse parties, of the order of the court and that the lawyer is therefore disqualified to act as lawyer after the effective date of the order. The notice to be given to the lawyer(s) for an adverse party, or, in the absence of opposing counsel, the adverse parties, shall state the place of residence of the client of the respondent.

  3. Special Notice. The court may direct the issuance of notice to such financial institutions or others as may be necessary to protect the interests of clients or other members of the public.

  4. Duty to Maintain Records. The respondent shall keep and maintain records of the steps taken to accomplish the requirements of paragraphs A and B, and shall make those records available to the disciplinary counsel on request.

  5. Return of Client Property. The respondent shall deliver to all clients being represented in pending matters any papers or other property to which they are entitled and shall notify them and any counsel representing them of a suitable time and place where the papers and other property may be obtained, calling attention to any urgency for obtaining the papers or other property.

  6. Effective Date of Order; Refund of Fees. Orders imposing disbarment, suspension, or transfers to disability inactive status are effective on a date [15] days after the date of the order, except where the court finds that immediate disbarment or suspension is necessary to protect the public. The respondent shall refund within [ten] days after entry of the order any part of any fees paid in advance that has not been earned.

  7. Withdrawal from Representation. In the event the client does not obtain another lawyer before the effective date of the disbarment or suspension, it shall be the responsibility of the respondent to move in the court or agency in which the proceeding is pending for leave to withdraw. The respondent shall in that event file with the court, agency or tribunal before which the litigation is pending a copy of the notice to opposing counsel or adverse parties.

New Representation Prohibited. Prior to the effective date of the order, if not immediate, the respondent shall agree not to undertake any new legal matters between service of the order and the effective date of the discipline. Upon the effective date of the order, the respondent shall not maintain a presence or occupy an office where the practice of law is conducted. The respondent shall take such action as is necessary to cause the removal of any indicia of lawyer, counselor at law, legal assistant, law clerk or similar title.


Affidavit Filed with Court. Within [ten] days after the effective date of the disbarment or suspension order, or order of transfer to disability inactive status, the respondent shall file with this court an affidavit showing:

(1) Compliance with the provisions of the order and with these rules;
(2) All other state, federal and administrative jurisdictions to which the lawyer is admitted to practice;
(3) Residence or other addresses where communications may thereafter be directed; and
(4) Service of a copy of the affidavit upon disciplinary counsel.


These notice provisions are necessary so that the respondent's inability to practice does not prejudice the rights of existing clients or other parties, and those who might otherwise have occasion to deal with the lawyer are made aware of the lawyer's suspension or disbarment. Compliance with the notice provision is an absolute precondition for reinstatement or readmission, and failure to comply may be grounds for further discipline.

Usually the effective date of discipline or transfer to disability inactive status should be the end of the period during which the final order may be appealed, but at least fifteen days, unless the court finds immediate suspension or disbarment is necessary. The interval between the entry of the order and its effective date permits the respondent to wind up his or her practice in an orderly manner. The respondent should not accept new retainers during this period since it is unlikely he or she can adequately represent new clients before the effective date when practice must be discontinued.


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Center for Professional Responsibility