Medina County Courthouse

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Supreme Court Adopts Disciplinary System Amendments

The Supreme Court of Ohio has adopted a series of rule amendments designed to enhance Ohio’s disciplinary system for lawyers and judges. The new rules take effect Jan. 1, 2012.

Earlier this year, the Court considered the proposed amendments that were contained in a December 2009 report from an 18-member Task Force to Review the Ohio Disciplinary System appointed by the late Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer. The Court considered comments received during two public comment periods.

Among the new amendments are those that:

Establish standards for certified grievance committees and create more definite procedures for decertifying grievance committees that fail to adhere to minimum requirements. In addition, new grievance committees would need approval from the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline.

Add a requirement that bar counsel for each certified grievance committee must take a minimum of three hours of continuing education each year, specifically related to their disciplinary responsibilities. This training would be offered or approved by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Bar counsel could be decertified for failing to obtain the required training.

The Court’s review of the disciplinary system follows a five-year process to review, rewrite and adopt new ethical rules governing the conduct of Ohio lawyers (2007) and judges (2009). This was the first comprehensive review of the disciplinary process undertaken by the Court in at least the last 20 years. The last series of major amendments occurred in the late 1990s based on recommendations from a committee appointed by the Ohio State Bar Association.

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