- Registration time
- Last login
- Online time
- 5 Hour
- Reading permission
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel administers the attorney grievance system in accordance with the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office has four regional offices - Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas and San Antonio - and the main office in Austin, each overseeing a geographical region of the state. Each office, headed by a Regional Counsel, houses an investigative attorney, and support staff to assist grievance committees and prosecute disciplinary actions.|
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel's has five "satellite" offices serving outlying rural communities that house investigative and support staff. A regional office supervises these offices - Tyler is part of the Dallas Region; Midland and El Paso are part of the Fort Worth Region; and Corpus Christi and Harlingen are supervised from San Antonio.
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel's staff is responsible for administering the grievance system from the inception of a complaint to the completion of the process, including appeals and monitoring compliance with judgments. In so doing, the staff is charged with providing the resources, investigation, and logistical assistance to the District Grievance Committees necessary to enable those committees to process and resolve complaints. Attorneys assist in the classification process, attend grievance committee hearings, and handle both evidentiary and district court de novo proceedings if the cases are not resolved at the investigatory stage of the grievance process.
Grievance Information Hotline (1-800-932-1900)
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office maintains a toll-free telephone line dedicated to the disciplinary system. The toll-free line is answered by the Client Attorney Assistance Program staff. This telephone line is designed to help the public with questions they have about filing a grievance.
Disciplinary System Questionnaire
After a grievance has reached a conclusion, a questionnaire is provided to the Complainant and Respondent. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office utilizes the questionnaire and the comments provided by participants in the grievance system to review the effectiveness of the grievance system, the District Grievance Committees, and the Chief Disciplinary Counsel's staff.
While the information gathered from the questionnaire cannot provide a complete analysis of the disciplinary system, coupled with the Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office's other statistical reports, it shows that the system is working effectively and fairly.
The Ethics Helpline
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office maintains, as a service to the members of the Bar, a toll-free Attorney Ethics Helpline operated from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Helpline is designed to assist Texas attorneys who have questions about their ethical obligations to clients, courts, and the public under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. The information disseminated is designed to give attorneys access to rules, ethical opinions and case law so an attorney can make an informed ethical decision. Pursuant to the policy of the Board of Directors of the State Bar, the Chief Disciplinary Counsel and his staff are not permitted to issue written opinions or advice.
The Attorney Ethics Helpline does not provide legal assistance to the general public and cannot address questions concerning pending grievances.
District Grievance Committees
The District Grievance Committees are the first arbiters of writings that have been classified as complaints in accordance with the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Texas has 49 District Grievance Committees with over 800 attorney and non-attorney volunteers. The Committees review complaints, supporting evidence, and hear testimony to determine if there is Just Cause to believe professional misconduct occurred.
If Just Cause has been determined, the Respondent attorney may elect to have his or her case heard before an Evidentiary Panel of the District Grievance Committees to determine whether misconduct occurred and, if so, the appropriate sanction.
The Commission for Lawyer Discipline
The Texas Commission for Lawyer Discipline, a standing committee of the State Bar of Texas, is a creation of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Those Rules and the State Bar Act define its role in the attorney discipline and disability system.
The Commission meets monthly to make decisions concerning individual attorney discipline cases within its purview. The Commission's powers and duties are set out in Part IV of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.
Board of Disciplinary Appeals
The Board of Disciplinary Appeals is a body of twelve lawyers with both appellate and original jurisdiction in grievance matters as provided by the Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The Board has final appellate jurisdiction in classification decisions and acts as an intermediate appellate court for evidentiary panel cases. The Board has original jurisdiction in compulsory and reciprocal discipline cases, as well as motions to revoke probated suspensions contained in grievance committee judgments.
Grievance Oversight Committee
The Grievance Oversight Committee is a committee of the Texas Supreme Court that acts as the liaison between the Supreme Court and the attorney discipline and disability system. The Committee meets regularly and provides an annual report on the state of the grievance system to the Supreme Court.