The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) is tasked with the responsibility of investigating all allegations of lawyer misconduct and making recommendations to the Supreme Court when discipline is warranted. The agency consists of a statewide board, hearing committees, disciplinary counsel and administrative staff appointed by the board and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC).
The Disciplinary Board is composed of 14 members who are appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court. One member is nominated by the Louisiana State Bar Association each year and must have prior lawyer discipline experience. Four others are members of the general public with diverse backgrounds.
By the end of 2013, the Louisiana Supreme Court’s lawyer regulation and discipline system neared completion of its 24th year with renewed dedication to firm but fair enforcement of the Rules of Professional Conduct and a renewed focus on education for Louisiana’s lawyers regarding their ethical duties.
The ODC recorded over 3,100 written complaints for 2013. With full implementation of the ‘enhanced screening’ procedure approved by the Supreme Court, the ODC was able to screen from formal investigation nearly half of the complaints received through early intervention or referral to appropriate Louisiana State Bar Association sponsored alternatives to discipline. While the ODC recorded 71 formal disciplinary prosecutions and 52 consent discipline resolutions during 2013, it has effectively worked to reduce the overall incidence of discipline infraction amongst members of the bar.
The LADB and the ODC continued to devote significant time and effort to educating Louisiana practitioners on their ethical obligations and practices. During 2013, LADB sponsored nine free continuing legal education (CLE) seminars statewide. With the target audience of solo practitioners and small firm members, the agency reached nearly 2,000 lawyers providing approximately 14,000 free CLE hours of high-quality training.
The ODC additionally provided ethics lectures on over 30 occasions in support of the state, local and specialty bar associations. With a full-time forensic accountant on staff, the ODC conducted in-house tutorial training for lawyers whose trust accounting practices, while causing no harm, were nevertheless deficient, giving rise to overdrafts or other irregularities.
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board