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.
The year 2014 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Supreme Court’s creation of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, designed to support the Court’s Constitutional authority to regulate the practice of law in Louisiana. Found in Supreme Court Rule XIX, the Board and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel reflect the Court’s adoption of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement.
During 2014, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) received 3,011 written complaints of misconduct and fielded over 10,000 calls from members of the public, bench and bar seeking guidance and assistance. Of the written complaints, 1,741 were resolved without the need for a formal disciplinary investigation. The revised screening authority provided to the ODC by the Supreme Court allowed for the more efficient handling of non-meritorious complaints, the referral of matters to a more appropriate venue such as fee arbitration, and the opportunity to focus the agency’s resources on more meritorious matters that require a full investigative effort. As a consequence, over 100 public disciplinary cases were initiated in 2014 including both formal charges and consent discipline filings. Additionally, 13 formal admonitions were issued, a form of private discipline for minor ethical violations.
The primary mission of the ODC is to protect the public and increase public confidence in the legal profession. To this end in 2014 the Board and ODC:
- Sought to raise the awareness and importance of the Rules of Professional Conduct and the application of Rule XIX by conducting disciplinary hearings and appellate arguments in all four of Louisiana’s law schools;
- Continued outreach to members of the bar, particularly solo practitioners and members of small firms, by offering free continuing legal education (CLE) programming around the state;
- Launched online CLE offerings to lawyers including the all new “True Attorney” video series; and
- For the first time, through the agency web site, provided members of the public, bench and bar a means to research the public disciplinary history of all Louisiana licensed attorneys.
Louisiana is regarded as having one of the most effective lawyer regulatory systems in the nation. In 2014, the ODC rededicated its efforts to maintain that leadership role and to sustain the disciplinary system to the highest standards of excellence.
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board