Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Effective January 1, Maine has amended its bar regulation rules to permit Bar Counsel (the inimitable Scott Davis) to investigate possible misconduct even if no one comes forward to file a complaint against the attorney. As the comment explains, information that might establish a possible Code violation often comes to the attention of bar counsel through media reports, judicial decisions or other sources. The disciplinary authorities should not be forced to ignore those reports because no one seeks a bar investigation.
We have long had such a rule in the District of Columbia. Investigations premised on media reports often go nowhere but have resulted in enough matters worthy of serious inquiry to justify an expansive authority for bar inquiries. Judicial decisions criticizing lawyer conduct, by contrast, more frequently merit careful investigation. Sometimes the investigation reveals more in the way of judicial pique than lawyer ethics violations.
The new rule is linked here. (Mike Frisch)