United States District Court

Northern District Of Illinois

Local Rules

LR83.25. Disciplinary Proceedings Generally

(a) Definitions. The following definitions shall apply to the disciplinary rules:

(1) The term “another court” shall mean any other court of the United States or of the District of Columbia, or of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States.

(2) The term “complaint of misconduct” shall mean any document in which it is alleged that an attorney practicing before this Court is guilty of misconduct.

(3) The term “discipline” shall include disbarment, suspension from practice before this Court, reprimand or censure, and such other disciplinary action as the circumstances may warrant, including, but not limited to, restitution of funds, satisfactory completion of educational programs, compliance with treatment programs, and community service. The term discipline is not intended to include sanctions or contempt.

(4) The term “misconduct” shall mean any act or omission by an attorney admitted to practice before this Court that violates LR83.50.1 through LR83.58.9. Such act or omission shall constitute misconduct regardless of (A) whether the attorney performed the act or omission individually or in concert with any other person or persons or (B) whether or not the act or omission occurred in the course of an attorney-client relationship.

(5) The term “serious crime” shall mean any crime, whether a felony or a lesser crime a necessary element of which involves one or more of the following:

(A) false swearing;

(B) misrepresentation;

(C) fraud;

(D) willful failure to file income tax returns or to pay the tax;

(E) deceit;

(F) bribery;

(G) extortion;

(H) misappropriation;

(I) theft; or

(J) an attempt or a conspiracy or solicitation of another to commit a serious crime.

Whether one or more of the crimes listed in (A) through (J) was a necessary element of the crime of which the attorney was convicted shall be determined by the statutory or common law definition of that crime in the jurisdiction in which the judgment was entered.

(b) Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall serve as the disciplinary committee of the Court.

(c) Jurisdiction. Nothing contained in these rules shall be construed to deny such powers as are necessary for a judge, magistrate judge or bankruptcy judge of this Court to maintain control over proceedings conducted before that judge,magistrate judge or bankruptcy judge, such as proceedings for contempt under LR37.1, Fed.R.Crim.P. 42 or,18 U.S.C. 401 and 402.

(d) Attorneys Admitted Under LR83.15. An attorney who is not a member of the bar of this Court who, pursuant to LR83.15, petitions to appear or is permitted to appear in this Court for purposes of a particular proceeding (pro hac vice), shall be deemed thereby to have conferred disciplinary jurisdiction upon this Court for any alleged misconduct of that attorney arising in the course of or in the preparation for such proceeding.

(e) Confidentiality. Proceedings before the Executive Committee shall be confidential, except that the Committee may in the interests of justice and on such terms it deems appropriate authorize the clerk to produce, disclose, release, inform, report, or testify to any information, reports, investigations, documents, evidence or transcripts in the clerk’s possession. Where a disciplinary proceeding is assigned to a judge of this Court pursuant to these rules, the record and hearings in the proceeding before that judge shall be public, unless for good cause that judge shall in writing order otherwise.

Final orders in disciplinary matters shall be a matter of public record and may be published at the direction of the Executive Committee or the assigned judge.

(f) Filing. An answer to a rule to show cause, a statement of charges, and any other document filed in connection with a disciplinary proceeding before the Executive Committee shall be filed with the attorney admissions coordinator or such other deputy clerk as the clerk may in writing designate.

Committee Comment: A proceeding to discipline a member of the bar of this Court can arise in one of three ways: another court disciplines the attorney; the attorney is convicted of a serious crime; or a complaint is filed alleging misconduct on the part of the attorney. Traditionally, most disciplinary proceedings have been reciprocal proceedings, i.e., proceedings initiated following the discipline of the attorney by another court. The next largest group of disciplinary proceedings consist of those initiated by the conviction of an attorney in this Court for a serious crime.

The Executive Committee is the disciplinary committee of the Court. In those circumstances where an evidentiary hearing may be required as part of the disciplinary proceeding, the Committee may direct that the proceeding be assigned by lot to an individual judge. (LR83.28(e))

As section (c) indicates, the disciplinary rules are not intended to diminish or usurp the authority of a judge in maintaining order in that judge’s courtroom or in enforcing compliance with that judge’s orders. Disciplinary proceedings are not alternatives to contempt proceedings.

LR83.15 establishes the procedures for admitting an attorney who wishes to appear pro hac vice. Section (d) of LR83.25 provides that such attorneys are subject to the same discipline as attorneys who are members of the general bar of the Court.

Section (e) of this rule provides that in general disciplinary proceedings are confidential. Any final orders imposing discipline are public. In those instances where a proceeding is assigned to an individual judge, it becomes at that point like any other civil proceeding, a matter of public record. As with any other civil case, there may be exceptional circumstances where some or all of the record or hearings should not be made public. Section (e) permits this.

Section (f) makes explicit what has been a practice of long standing: materials relating to disciplinary proceedings before the Executive Committee are to be filed with the Attorney Admissions Coordinator. This procedure enables more effective control over the documents in disciplinary proceedings, a control necessary to assure that the confidentiality of such proceedings is maintained. In addition, the coordinator serves as a source of information on procedure for attorneys involved in disciplinary proceedings.