Following the 20th year of operations, the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB) and the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) held a planning retreat with follow-up sessions during 2011 to evaluate operations and to examine opportunities for improved performance in furtherance of the mission of administering the Supreme Court’s regulation of the practice of law in Louisiana. As a result, the agency:
- Sought and obtained amendments to Supreme Court Rule XIX designed to assist the ODC in screening out non-meritorious complaints to assure that agency resources are devoted to matters deserving full disciplinary investigation.
- Began the process of examining continuing legal education requirements with a view towards requiring periodic training for lawyers on the proper operation and maintenance of client trust and escrow accounts.
- Received approval from the Supreme Court to simplify and expedite the process by which overdraft notification agreements on lawyer’s trust accounts are completed and submitted, lessening the regulatory burden on both the lawyers and financial institutions.
- Examined ways to further educate and inform the public regarding the role of the LADB and the ODC in supporting the Supreme Court in regulating the legal profession.
- In 2011, the workload continued apace. The ODC received 3,132 new written complaints during the year. Of these, 1,348 were opened for full disciplinary investigation; 340 were referred to the Louisiana State Bar Association for diversion or relational follow-up; and 1,444 were administratively closed either by resolution of the concerns, referral to the appropriate agency, or because the matters did not reflect violations of the Rules of Professional Responsibility warranting the imposition of discipline.
- The ODC initiated 143 public disciplinary prosecutions consisting of formal charges, permanent resignations in lieu of discipline, and consent discipline petitions. An additional 23 matters were resolved by private discipline, bringing the total case disposition during 2011 to 166.
- During 2011, the LADB and the ODC continued its partnership with the Louisiana State Bar Association to provide free continuing legal education for solo practitioners and small firms. Nine presentations were made across the state to over 1,500 lawyers.
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board