Sunday, July 4, 2010

Big Changes In Arizona Bar Discipline

The Arizona Supreme Court has announced significant changes in its attorney discipline system. The court's announcement highlights the new regime:

  • Utilization of a paid full-time hearing officer, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, to preside over all formal cases;
  • Establishment of an independent probable cause committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, with representation by attorneys and members of the public;
  • A streamlined process for formal cases that encourages resolution of cases before the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and provides the judge with the authority to impose all sanctions, including disbarment;
  • Elimination of the Disciplinary Commission review and recommendation process; replacing it with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court;
  • Appointment of counsel by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge for investigation of conflict cases and;
  • Establish an Advisory Committee on Attorney Regulation to monitor the implementation of the new process and to periodically review the entire attorney admission and discipline system.
The Presiding Disciplinary Judge model comes from Colorado. The job posting and application process is linked here. (Mike Frisch)

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