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COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

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Pennsylvania Code



Subchapter D. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS


Rule


401.    Expenses.
402.    Access to Disciplinary Information and Confidentiality.
403.    [Reserved].
403.    Emeritus Status.
404.    Permanent Resignation and Readmission.
411.    [Reserved].
412.    [Reserved].

Rule 401. Expenses.

 The salaries of the Disciplinary Board employees, their expenses, administrative costs, expenses of the members of the Board and of hearing committees, and expenses and compensation, if any, of special masters shall be paid by the Board out of the funds collected under the provisions of Enforcement Rule 219 (relating to annual registration and assessment) and Enforcement Rule 208 (relating to costs and fees). The Board shall annually obtain an independent audit by a certified public accountant of the funds entrusted to it and their disposition and shall file a copy of such audit with the Court.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 401 amended June 4, 2012, effective in 30 days, 42 Pa.B. 3431; amended April 18, 2019, effective in 30 days, 49 Pa.B. 2209; amended July 19, 2023, effective September 1, 2023, 53 Pa.B. 4385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (409761).

Rule 402. Access to Disciplinary Information and Confidentiality.

 (a)  Except as provided in subdivisions (b), (d) and (k), all proceedings under these rules shall be open to the public after:

   (1)  the filing of an answer to a petition for discipline;

   (2)  the time to file an answer to a petition for discipline has expired without an answer being filed;

   (3)  the filing and service of a petition for reinstatement; or

   (4)  the Board has entered an Order determining a public reprimand.

 (b)  Notwithstanding subdivision (a), an informal proceeding under these rules in which it is determined that private discipline should be imposed but that subsequently results in the filing of formal charges shall not be open to the public until or unless the Supreme Court enters its order for the imposition of public discipline.

 (c)  Until the proceedings are open under subdivision (a) or (b), all proceedings involving allegations of misconduct by or disability of an attorney shall be kept confidential unless:

   (1)  the respondent-attorney requests that the matter be public, or waives confidentiality for a particular purpose specified in writing;

   (2)  the investigation is predicated upon a conviction of the respondent-attorney for a crime or reciprocal discipline;

   (3)  an order of temporary suspension from the practice of law is entered by the Court pursuant to Enforcement Rule 208(f) (relating to emergency temporary suspension orders and related relief) or Enforcement Rule 214(d) (relating to temporary suspension based on a criminal proceeding), in which case the proceedings and filings related to the petition, the order, and any petition to dissolve, amend or modify shall be public;

   (4)  in matters involving alleged disability, the Supreme Court enters its order transferring the respondent-attorney to disability inactive status pursuant to Enforcement Rule 301 (relating to proceedings where an attorney is declared to be incompetent or is alleged to be incapacitated); or

   (5)  there is a need to notify another person or organization, including the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Security, in order to protect the public, the administration of justice, or the legal profession.

 (d)  This rule shall not be construed to:

   (1)  Deny access to relevant information at any point during a proceeding under these rules to:

     (i)   authorized agencies investigating the qualifications of judicial candidates,

     (ii)   the Judicial Conduct Board with respect to an investigation it is conducting,

     (iii)   other jurisdictions investigating qualifications for admission to practice;

     (iv)   law enforcement agencies investigating qualifications for government employment;

     (v)   lawyer disciplinary enforcement agencies in other jurisdictions investigating misconduct by the respondent-attorney; or

     (vi)   the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security Board investigating a claim for reimbursement arising from conduct by the respondent-attorney.

   (2)  Require Disciplinary Counsel to refrain from reporting to law enforcement authorities the commission or suspected commission of any criminal offense or information relating to a criminal offense.

   (3)  Prevent the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security from utilizing information obtained during any investigation to pursue subrogated claims.

 (4) Prevent Disciplinary Counsel or the Board from notifying the complainant of the disposition of a complaint, including the type of discipline imposed and any condition attached to the discipline.

 (5) Prevent the Board from exercising its discretion to provide public access to a complaint or portions thereof, as the interests of justice may require. The affected parties shall be notified in advance of the intent to disclose otherwise confidential material.

 (6) Prevent Disciplinary Counsel from making an informal referral of an attorney to Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers of Pennsylvania, Inc. (LCL-PA), if Disciplinary Counsel believes that the attorney may benefit from the services of LCL-PA. Disciplinary Counsel may share with LCL-PA information deemed confidential under these Enforcement Rules as part of the referral. LCL-PA shall not report information about the subject attorney to Disciplinary Counsel or to any staff of the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. The fact that a referral was made and its outcome shall not be relevant for any purpose and may not be considered or disclosed by Disciplinary Counsel in any proceeding under these Rules.

   Note

   Subdivision (d)(6) is intended to facilitate mental health and substance use referrals to Pennsylvania’s approved lawyers’ assistance program while preserving the confidentiality that is essential to that program’s success. See Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.3(c) and Comment.

 (e)  Subdivision (a) shall not be construed to provide public access to:

   (1)  the work product of the Board, Disciplinary Counsel, hearing committee members, or special masters;

   (2)  deliberations of a hearing committee, special master, the Board or the Court;

   (3)  information subject to a protective order issued by the Board under subdivision (f); or

   (4)  a complaint submitted to the Board or Disciplinary Counsel.

 (f)  The Board may, upon application of any person and for good cause shown, issue a protective order prohibiting the disclosure of specific information otherwise privileged or confidential, and the Board may direct that proceedings be conducted soas to implement the order, including requiring that a hearing be conducted in such a way as to preserve the confidentiality of the information that is the subject of a protective order.

 (g)  Except as provided in subsection (h), if nonpublic information is requested pursuant to subdivision (d)(1)(i), (iii), (iv) or (v) and the respondent-attorney has not signed an applicable waiver of confidentiality, the respondent-attorney shall be notified in writing at the last known address of the respondent-attorney of what information has been requested and by whom, together with a copy of the information proposed to be released to the requesting agency or board. The notice shall advise the respondent-attorney that the information will be released 20 days after mailing of the notice unless the lawyer objects to the disclosure. If the lawyer timely objects to the disclosure, the information shall remain confidential unless the requesting agency or board obtains an order of the Supreme Court requiring its release or the respondent-attorney withdraws the objection.

 (h)  If an agency or board requesting the release of information under subdivision (d)(1) other than the Judicial Conduct Board and the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security Board has not obtained an applicable waiver of confidentiality from the respondent-attorney, and the agency or board requests that the information be released without giving notice to the respondent-attorney, the requesting agency or board shall certify that:

   (1)  the request is made in furtherance of an ongoing investigation into misconduct by the respondent-attorney;

   (2)  the information is essential to that investigation; and

   (3)  disclosure of the existence of the investigation to the respondent-attorney would seriously prejudice the investigation.

 (i)  The Board shall transmit notice of all public discipline imposed by the Supreme Court, transfers to or from disability inactive status, and reinstatements to the National Lawyer Regulatory Data Bank maintained by the American Bar Association.

 (j)(1) This rule does not permit broadcasting, televising, recording or taking photographs during a proceeding under these rules, except that a hearing committee, a special master, the Board or the Supreme Court when conducting a proceeding may authorize the use of electronic or photographic means for the presentation of evidence, for the perpetuation of a record or for other purposes of judicial administration.

 (2) Public access to a public proceeding before a hearing committee, special master or the Board shall consist of or be supplemented by livestream technology, which access shall cease upon the conclusion of the proceeding. The official record of the proceeding shall be the record generated by the court reporter, as applicable.

 (3) A request for in-person access to a public proceeding other than by the parties, their attorneys and reasonably necessary staff shall be made to the Board at least 30 days in advance of the scheduled proceeding.

 (k) If a formal proceeding results in the imposition of private discipline or dismissal of all the charges, the proceeding shall cease to be open to the public when the decision to impose private discipline or dismiss the charges becomes final, unless the respondent-attorney requests that the record of the proceeding remain open to the public.

   Note

   Under subdivision (a), a petition for discipline is part of a formal proceeding; therefore, the petition is open to the public and part of the public record. See Enforcement Rule 102(a) (definition of ‘‘Formal Proceedings’’); Enforcement Rule 208(b)(1) (formal proceedings instituted by filing a petition for discipline). However, the proceeding and the petition do not become open to the public until an answer is filed or the time to file an answer expires without an answer being filed.

   Subdivision (d)(2) is based on 18 Pa.C.S. 5108 (relating to compounding). Otherwise Disciplinary Counsel may be in the anomalous position of violating Rule 8.4 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct.

   Although subdivision (k) provides that a formal proceeding that becomes open to the public under subdivision (a) will subsequently be closed if it results in the imposition of private discipline or dismissal of all the charges, the closing of the proceeding cannot change the fact that the proceeding was open to the public for a period of time. Thus, subdivision (k) makes clear that the respondent-attorney may request that the record of the proceeding remain open to demonstrate that the charges were dismissed or only private discipline was imposed.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 402 amended April 1, 1983, effective April 2, 1983, 13 Pa.B. 1179; amended October 21, 1988, effective November 12, 1988, 18 Pa.B. 5070; amended November 26, 1990, effective December 15, 1990, 20 Pa.B. 6142; amended October 26, 2005, effective upon publication of this Order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall apply to all matters thereafter commenced and to those matters pending at the time in which a petition for discipline or a petition for reinstatement has not been filed; amended May 23, 2007, effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall govern all matters thereafter commenced and, insofar as just and practicable, matters then pending; amended December 12, 2008, effective immediately, 38 Pa.B. 7079; amended May 17, 2012, effective in 30 days, 42 Pa.B. 3127; amended March 22, 2022, effective in 30 days, 52 Pa.B. 1974; amended August 19, 2022, effective in 30 days, 52 Pa.B. 5634; amended July 19, 2023, effective September 1, 2023, 53 Pa.B. 4385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (409761) to (409762) and (411165) to (411166).

Rule 403. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this Rule 403 reserved October 10, 1980, effective February 8, 1981, 10 Pa.B. 4029. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (39530) and (31694).

Rule 403. Emeritus Status.

 (a)  Qualifications. An attorney admitted in Pennsylvania who is registered as retired and who seeks to provide pro bono services under this rule shall transfer to emeritus status by complying with the requirements listed below.

 (b)  Application Procedure. Prior to the representation described in (d), an attorney shall complete and submit to the Attorney Registration Office an Application for Emeritus Status which shall include the following:

   (1)  The name, attorney identification number, telephone number, current email and residence address of the attorney, the latter of which shall be an actual street address, a rural route box number, or a post office box number. Upon an attorney’s written request submitted to the Attorney Registration Office and for good cause shown, the contact information will be nonpublic information and will not be published on the Board’s website or otherwise disclosed;

   (2)  A list of all courts (except courts of this Commonwealth) and jurisdictions in which the attorney has been licensed to practice law, with the current status thereof;

   (3)  Prior disciplinary record in other jurisdictions;

   (4)  The list of approved Continuing Legal Education courses that the attorney has completed during the 12-month period immediately preceding the submission of the Application for Emeritus Status, totaling no fewer than 6 credit hours, 5 of which shall be in the substantive area of law and 1 of which shall be in ethics;

   (5)  Verification that the attorney is authorized solely to provide pro bono services to eligible legal aid organizations;

   (6)  Verification that the attorney is not permitted to handle client funds;

   (7)  Verification that the attorney will neither ask for nor receive compensation of any kind for the legal services authorized under this rule;

   (8)  A registration fee of $35.00.

 (c)  Transfer to Emeritus Status. Upon review of the completed form, verification of the information and approval by the Attorney Registration Office, the application shall be processed by the Attorney Registration Office and the attorney’s status as retired shall be changed to emeritus.

 (d)  Limitation of Practice. An emeritus attorney is authorized solely to provide pro bono legal services under the auspices of an eligible legal aid organization and without charge or an expectation of fee by the attorney.

 (e)  Eligible Legal Aid Organization. An ‘‘eligible legal aid organization’’ for the purposes of this rule is a not-for-profit organization that provides legal services.

 (f)  Approval of Eligible Legal Aid Organization. Prior to the commencement of services described in (d), the emeritus attorney shall submit an Eligible Legal Aid Organization Form to the Board for approval. The emeritus attorney shall submit a separate form for each eligible legal aid organization for which the attorney expects to perform pro bono services. The form shall include the following:

   (1)  The name and address of the Eligible Legal Aid Organization and the name of the supervising attorney;

   (2)  A description of the legal services performed by the organization and the nature of the duties expected to be performed by the emeritus attorney;

   (3)  Verification of the existence and extent of the malpractice insurance that will cover the emeritus attorney;

   (4)  Verification that the organization will provide training and support to the emeritus attorney.

 (g)  Renewal of Emeritus Status. An emeritus attorney who is registered to provide services under this rule may renew the status on an annual basis.

   (1)  On or before January 1 of each year, the Attorney Registration Office shall transmit to all emeritus attorneys a notice to register by January 31.

   (2)  On or before January 31 of each year, emeritus attorneys who seek to renew the status shall pay an annual assessment of $35.00 and shall file with the Attorney Registration Office a form prescribed by the Office which shall include the following:

     (i)   The name, attorney identification number, telephone number, current email and residence address of the attorney, the latter of which shall be an actual street address, a rural route box number, or a post office box number. Upon an attorney’s written request submitted to the Attorney Registration Office and for good cause shown, the contact information provided by the attorney will be nonpublic information and will not be published on the Board’s website or otherwise disclosed;

     (ii)   A list of all courts (except courts of this Commonwealth) and jurisdictions in which the attorney has been licensed to practice law, with the current status thereof;

     (iii)   Prior disciplinary record in other jurisdictions;

     (iv)   Verification that the attorney is authorized solely to provide pro bono services to eligible legal aid organizations;

     (v)   Verification that the attorney is not permitted to handle client funds;

     (vi)   Verification that the attorney will neither ask for nor receive compensation of any kind for the legal services authorized under this rule;

   (3)  Failure to file the annual registration form and pay the annual assessment by January 31 shall result in the transfer to retired status.

 (h)  An emeritus attorney seeking to resume active status should refer to the procedures under Enforcement Rule 218(d) or 219(h)(3), as applicable.

 (i)  Continuing Legal Education Requirements. An emeritus attorney shall be subject to the annual CLE requirement. See Pa.R.C.L.E. 105(d).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 403 adopted May 9, 2018, effective in 30 days, 48 Pa.B. 3076; amended April 18, 2019, effective in 30 days, 49 Pa.B. 2209; amended July 19, 2023, effective September 1, 2023, 53 Pa.B. 4385. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (411166) and (409765) to (409766).

Rule 404. Permanent Resignation and Readmission.

 (a)  Resignation while in good standing. An attorney who is not the subject of any investigation into allegations of misconduct may permanently resign from the bar of this Commonwealth by submitting a written resignation to the Attorney Registration Office.

 (b)  Resignation while under Administrative Suspension. An attorney who is administratively suspended for failure to comply with Pennsylvania Rules for Continuing Legal Education or Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and not the subject of any investigation into allegations of misconduct may permanently resign from the bar of this Commonwealth by submitting a written resignation to the Attorney Registration Office.

 (c)  Readmission. An attorney who has permanently resigned from the practice of law in the Commonwealth pursuant to subdivision (a) or (b) of this rule may not be reinstated under the Enforcement Rules and must seek readmission to the bar pursuant to the Pennsylvania Bar Admission Rules.

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 404 adopted October 29, 2020, effective in 30 days, 50 Pa.B. 6353.

Rule 411. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this Rule 411 adopted October 10, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4029; reserved February 2, 1984, effective February 18, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 510. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (81629) to (81630).

Rule 412. [Reserved].


Source

   The provisions of this Rule 412 adopted October 10, 1980, 10 Pa.B. 4029; reserved February 2, 1984, effective February 18, 1984, 14 Pa.B. 510. Immediately preceding text appears at serial page (81630).



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