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.
Regulation of the practice of law in Louisiana is a critically important responsibility resting upon the inherent and constitutionally grounded authority of the Supreme Court. Through the Court’s dedicated efforts, the lawyer regulation system ensures that the conduct of Louisiana’s nearly 23,500 attorneys comports with the ethical standards reflected in the Rules of Professional Conduct that are designed to protect the interests of the public, the bar members, and the courts.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) is the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board (LADB), a unified agency created by the Supreme Court effective April 1, 1990. In the exercise of a ‘firm but fair’ approach to attorney discipline, the ODC has aggressively pursued serious misconduct by lawyers filing a combined 127 formal charges and consent discipline pleadings during the year. Over the last two decades the number of written complaints against attorneys fell consistently between 3,000 and 3,200 annually with approximately half resulting in formal disciplinary investigations. However, a downward trend of recent years continued in 2016 where written complaints against attorneys dropped to 2,898.
In 2016, the Supreme Court received the final report of the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility consultation team composed of experts in lawyer regulation from across the country whose onsite review of the LADB and ODC was conducted in October 2015. The consultation was designed to assess the Louisiana disciplinary system and to provide recommendations for improvement to further ensure fairness and efficiency. It is expected the final report will provide a basis for enhancements to Louisiana’s lawyer regulation system which is already considered one of the premier in the nation. In 2016, the LADB was the recipient of the AI Legal Award from AI Global Media, Ltd.
The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board