SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT INVITES AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION
TEAM TO STUDY MASSACHUSETTS LAWYER DISCIPLINE SYSTEM
Boston --- The Supreme Judicial Court today announced that it has invited the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professional Discipline to provide a consultation visit and report on the lawyer discipline system of Massachusetts. Under the program, a team, consisting of a member of the Standing Committee, an experienced disciplinary counsel, and lawyers from the ABA Center for Professional Responsibility visit a jurisdiction, interview those with a role in the state’s disciplinary system, and make recommendations designed to assist in the administration of the system.
The Justices concluded that an evaluation of our lawyer discipline system will be in keeping with the recommendations of the Monan Committee and with operational reviews being conducted at all levels of the court system. Other states that have participated in the program have found it to be a useful process, providing a knowledgeable, objective assessment of the disciplinary system and valuable suggestions for improvements.
Alan D. Rose, chair of the Board of Bar Overseers, stated, “We look forward to meeting with the members of the ABA team, providing them with all the information they need to do their work, and hearing the ABA’s recommendations for improvement of the bar discipline system in Massachusetts.”
As part of the process, the team will come to Massachusetts during the last week of June to conduct extensive interviews with lawyers and nonlawyers responsible for and affected by the discipline system, and to meet with the Supreme Judicial Court. These confidential interviews are conducted to provide the team with an understanding and broad cross-section of views about the disciplinary process, including areas that need improvement as well as those that are functioning well.
It is expected that the Standing Committee will file its report and recommendations with the Supreme Judicial Court within four months following the team visit. Reports issued by the committee are designed to help improve disciplinary systems by providing constructive suggestions and recommendations based upon the team’s investigation, its collective knowledge and experience, and consideration of the ABA Model Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement.
Bar Counsel Daniel C. Crane stated, “The recommendations and report from the ABA team will provide all of us with an objective evaluation of the Massachusetts lawyer discipline system from a team with broad experience with lawyer discipline systems across the country. The Office of Bar Counsel looks forward to working with the team and receiving its assistance.”