If you have questions about the rules or concerns about the actions of the Bar staff or the Committee, you may contact the following:

Below are some of the common questions posted to the OPC about the disciplinary process. Please refer to the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability and the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions for complete answers to any questions you may have about the process

Table of Questions

General Disciplinary Proceedings

1. What rules govern general disciplinary proceedings?
2. Is either the lawyer or complainant entitled to an attorney?
3. What is the standard of proof and who has the burden of proof?
4. What can a lawyer or complainant expect regarding the length of the process?
5. What information will be given regarding the status of the case?
6. Is there a statute of limitation applicable to disciplinary proceedings?
7. What notice is the lawyer or complainant entitled to?
8. Does a lawyer have an opportunity to respond to an informal complaint?
9. Is a complainant entitled to see this response?
10. Can a lawyer get an extension of time to respond to the informal complaint?
11. What are a lawyer’s and a complainant’s rights at a screening panel hearing?
12. Can the disciplinary proceedings be held in abeyance (temporarily put on hold) if a lawyer is involved in pending criminal or civil litigation?
13. What if a lawyer settles with a client who has filed an informal complaint, or the complainant is unwilling to prosecute a complaint?
14. What happens if the screening panel directs the Bar to file a formal complaint against a lawyer in district court?
15. Can a lawyer, a complainant, or the Bar, engage in discovery (requests for information) prior to a formal complaint being filed against a lawyer in district court?
16. Can a lawyer propose a settlement of a disciplinary action pending against him or her and can the complainant object to any settlement?
17. Can a lawyer simply resign from the Bar when there are disciplinary proceedings pending against him or her? 
18. What review is available for lawyers and complainants for decisions made by the Bar, recommendations made by a screening panel, or orders entered by a district court?
19. How long will any discipline that a lawyer receives count against him or her?
20. How long are the records kept?
21. What information is publicly available about informal complaints against a lawyer, any pending district court actions, or a lawyer’s disciplinary record?
22. What if a lawyer is disciplined in Utah and is licensed in other jurisdictions?

Interim Suspension Proceedings

23. What notice is a lawyer entitled to?
24. Is a lawyer entitled to a hearing before being placed on interim suspension?
25. What is the standard of proof in interim suspension proceedings?
26. Can a lawyer petition a district court to dissolve an order of interim suspension?

Reinstatement and Readmission Proceedings
27. When can a lawyer petition for reinstatement after a suspension?
28. When can a lawyer petition for readmission after disbarment?
29. When can a lawyer petition for readmission if he or she was placed on interim suspension and then disbarred?
30. What if the Bar opposes a lawyer’s petition?
31. Are reinstatement or readmission proceedings confidential?
32. What is the standard of proof in reinstatement and readmission proceedings and who has the burden of proof?
33. When can a lawyer petition again if the district court rejects his or her petition?
34. What happens if a lawyer has been suspended or disbarred in Utah based solely upon discipline imposed by another jurisdiction and he or she is reinstated or readmitted in the other jurisdiction?

Disability Proceedings
35. What if a lawyer is disabled?
36. What notice is a lawyer entitled to?
37. If a lawyer is unable to represent him or herself can he or she get counsel?
38. How is a disability status terminated?
39. What rules govern disability proceedings?
40. What is the standard of proof and who has the burden?
41. Are disability proceedings and their results confidential?
42. Can the disability proceedings be held in abeyance (temporarily put on hold) if a lawyer is involved in pending criminal or civil litigation?
43. What if a lawyer who is also licensed in other jurisdictions is placed on disability status in Utah?

General Disciplinary Proceedings

General Bar disciplinary proceedings usually begin when a member of the public files a complaint with the Bar which asserts that a lawyer has engaged in unethical conduct or violated the Rules of Professional Conduct. A complaint filed by a member of the public or initiated by the Bar itself is called an “informal complaint.” If the Bar has investigated the informal complaint and presented the results of the investigation to a screening panel and if the screening panel concludes that probable cause exists to support the assertion, the Bar may file a “formal complaint” in a district court.

1. What rules govern general disciplinary proceedings?

All disciplinary proceedings, including those following informal and formal complaints, are conducted in accordance with the process described in the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability (the “Rules”). The Rules are construed to achieve “substantial justice and fairness in disciplinary matters with dispatch and at the least expense to all concerned parties.”

  • If a lawyer is been found to have engaged in misconduct, the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions govern the imposition of sanctions. The standards are found in the Utah Code Annotated.
  • Service of a formal complaint is made under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Service of any other papers or notices required by the Rules is made under the Utah Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • The Utah Rules of Civil Procedure, the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure, and the Utah Rules of Evidence apply in formal disciplinary actions.
  • Appeals of District Court orders of public discipline are made pursuant to the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure.

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2. Is either the lawyer or complainant entitled to an attorney?

  • No. The Rules do not provide for a right to counsel for lawyers or complainants in disciplinary proceedings. In this regard, disciplinary proceedings are civil in nature not criminal. The complainant may be represented by counsel or some other representative in a disciplinary proceeding. The Bar encourages lawyers to seek legal counsel.

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 3. What is the standard of proof and who has the burden of proof?

  • Formal complaints are established by a preponderance of the evidence. The Bar has the burden of proof in proceedings seeking discipline.
  • The lawyer has the burden of proof in proceedings in which he or she seeks a reversal of a Screening Panel recommendation of a private admonition or the recommendation of a public reprimand.

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4. What can a lawyer or complainant expect regarding the length of the process?

  • The Rules do not outline specific time-frames for the investigation and processing of a disciplinary complaint. The Bar makes every effort to investigate and process a case as quickly as possible.

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5. What information will be given regarding the status of the case?

  • The Bar must advise the complainant of its initial consideration of the informal complaint within three months after it has been filed and must promptly advise the complainant in writing of the subsequent disposition of the informal complaint and the reasons for the disposition. The Bar must also promptly notify the complainant and the lawyer of the disposition of each matter.

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6. Is there a statute of limitation applicable to disciplinary proceedings?

  • Yes. Proceedings under the Rules must be commenced by the Bar within four years of the discovery of the acts allegedly constituting a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

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7. What notice is the lawyer or complainant entitled to?

  • Prior to sending a disciplinary complaint to a Screening Panel, the lawyer will be served with a Notice of Informal Complaint by regular mail at the address on record at the Bar, attached to which is a true copy of the signed informal complaint, identifying the possible violation(s) of the Rules of Professional Conduct raised by the informal complaint as preliminarily determined by the Bar. Whether or not a disciplinary complaint goes to a Screening Panel, as part of the Bar’s screening and investigative process, it is the Bar’s practice to notify lawyers of all properly notarized, verified and signed informal complaints.
  • The lawyer has at least 30-days notice of a hearing before a screening panel.
    The Rules do not require that the complainant receive a copy of the Notice of Informal complaint or a copy of the Notice of Hearing before a screening panel. However, since the complainant has a right to appear at the screening panel, testify and bring witnesses (see below), as a matter of policy, the Bar sends a notice of the screening panel hearing to the complainant at the same time it sends it to the lawyer, and the Bar also, prior to the hearing, sends a copy of the Notice of Informal Complaint to the complainant along with all the information the Bar will present to the screening panel.
  • The lawyer and complainant are promptly notified of the disposition of each informal complaint brought against the lawyer.
  • The Bar notifies a lawyer and complainant by regular mail of a screening panel decision to dismiss an informal complaint.
  • A lawyer is served by regular mail at his or her address on record at the Bar with a copy of a screening panel’s written recommendation that he or she be admonished or publicly reprimanded.
  • A lawyer is served by regular mail at his or her address on record at the Bar prior to delivery of the screening panel’s recommendation to the Committee chair.
  • The recommendation states the substance and nature of the informal complaint and defenses and the basis upon which the screening panel has concluded, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the lawyer should be privately admonished or publicly reprimanded.
  • The lawyer may within 30 days from this notice file an exception to the screening panel’s recommendation of a private admonition or to the recommendation of a public reprimand.

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8. Does a lawyer have an opportunity to respond to an informal complaint?

  • Yes. A lawyer is required to submit a written and signed answer to a Notice of Informal Complaint setting forth in full an explanation of the facts surrounding the informal complaint, together with all defenses and responses to the claims of possible misconduct.

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9. Is a complainant entitled to see this response?

  • Yes. The Bar forwards a copy of the answer, if any, to the complainant.

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10. Can a lawyer get an extension of time to respond to the informal complaint?

  • Yes. The lawyer must file with the Bar within 20 days a written and signed answer to the Notice of Informal Complaint, but for good cause shown, the Bar may extend to time for filing an answer for up to an additional 30 days.

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11. What are a lawyer’s and a complainant’s rights at a screening panel hearing?

  • The lawyer may appear before a screening panel and the complainant has the right to appear before the screening panel and testify under oath.
  • The lawyer may and the complainant shall have the right to call witnesses to testify under oath before the screening panel.
  • Direct cross-examination is prohibited at screening panels except with request, and panel chair determines if it will materially assist panel.
  • The lawyer may present to the screening panel an oral argument with respect to the informal complaint.
  • The lawyer may submit a written brief up to ten pages in length. For good cause shown, the Committee chair or the chair’s delegate may extend the length of the brief. A copy of the brief will be forwarded by the Bar to the complainant.
  • The lawyer and the complainant have the right to be present during the presentation of evidence unless excluded by the screening panel chair for good cause shown.
  • Except as otherwise provided in the Rules, the lawyer may be present before a screening panel whenever the Bar counsel is present.

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12. Can the disciplinary proceedings be held in abeyance (temporarily put on hold) if a lawyer is involved in pending criminal or civil litigation?

  • Yes. The Committee may hold in abeyance a disciplinary proceeding prior to the filing of a formal complaint when the allegations of the informal complaint contain matters of substantial similarity to the material allegations of pending criminal or civil litigation in which the lawyer is involved.
  • Upon a showing of good cause, a formal action may be stayed because of substantial similarity to the material allegations of a pending criminal, civil, or disciplinary action.

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13. What if a lawyer settles with a client who has filed an informal complaint or the complainant is unwilling to prosecute the complaint?

  • Neither unwillingness of the complainant to prosecute an informal or formal complaint, nor settlement or compromise between the complainant and the lawyer, nor restitution by the lawyer, shall, in and of itself, justify discontinuing disciplinary proceedings.

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14. What happens if the screening panel directs the Bar to file a formal complaint against a lawyer in district court?

  • The action is filed and the trial shall be held in the county in which an alleged misconduct occurred or in the county where the lawyer resides or practices law or last practiced law in Utah.
  • If the lawyer is not a resident of Utah and the alleged misconduct is not committed in Utah, the trial shall be held in a county designated by the Chief Justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
  • The lawyer or the Bar may, within 30 days after filing the action or prior to the notice of trial setting, whichever comes first, request a change of the judge assigned to the case.
  • The Rules do not provide for a jury trial. The judge makes a decision and enters findings of fact and conclusions of law.
  • The proceedings are divided into an adjudication proceeding and if there is a finding of misconduct, a separate sanctions hearing as soon as reasonably practicable, but not more than 30 days after entry of the findings of fact and conclusions of law. At the sanctions hearing, the lawyer may offer relevant evidence of mitigation and the Bar may offer evidence of aggravation. The district court shall enter an order sanctioning the lawyer within 5 days after the sanctions hearing.
  • The imposition of sanctions are be governed by the Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions.

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15. Can a lawyer, a complainant, or the Bar, engage in discovery (requests for information) prior to a formal complaint being filed against a lawyer in district court?

  • Yes. Any party, for good cause shown, may petition under seal the district court for issuance of a subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, or any order allowing discovery prior to the filing of a formal complaint. Except for good cause shown, all petitions shall require a five-day written notice to the opposing party prior to the issuance of an order of subpoena.

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16. Can a lawyer propose a settlement of a disciplinary action pending against him or her and can the complainant object to any settlement?

  • Yes. Before a formal complaint is filed, a lawyer may offer the Bar a proposal for discipline by consent based on conditional admissions in exchange for a disciplinary sanction, and final disposition of the informal complaint. The proposal must include a waiver of a right to screening panel and the disciplinary sanction proposal should be consistent with disciplinary sanction authority of the Committee chair. The Bar forwards the proposal to the Committee chair, with a recommendation as to its disposition. The chair either accepts or rejects the proposal. If the chair accepts the proposal, it enters the appropriate order. If the proposed discipline by consent is rejected, the proposal and the admissions shall be withdrawn and cannot be used against the lawyer.
  • After a formal complaint is filed, a lawyer may offer the Bar a conditional admission to the complaint or a particular count in exchange for a stated form of discipline and final disposition of the formal complaint. The Bar forwards the proposal to the district court with a recommendation for its disposition, which the court may either accept or reject.
  • If the district court accepts the proposal and the proposed discipline includes public discipline, it enters the appropriate order. If the proposed discipline by consent is rejected, the proposal and the admissions shall be withdrawn and cannot be used against the lawyer.
  • The Rules do not provide that a complainant may object to any proposed settlement between the Bar and the lawyer.

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17. Can a lawyer simply resign from the Bar when there are disciplinary proceedings pending against him or her?

  • Yes. The Utah Supreme Court and the Bar continue to have disciplinary jurisdiction over any formerly admitted lawyer with respect to acts committed while admitted to practice in Utah. A lawyer may resign from the Bar, prior to the adjudication of a pending complaint, with the consent of the Supreme Court.
  • The lawyer submits a Petition for Resignation with Discipline Pending, to which the Bar may object or consent. If the Bar objects, the matter is set for a hearing in district court. If the Bar consents, the Supreme Court shall review the petition and enter an appropriate order.

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18. What review is available for lawyers and complainants for decisions made by the Bar, recommendations made by a screening panel, or orders entered by a district court?

  • If the Bar dismisses an informal complaint because it is frivolous, unintelligible, barred by the statute of limitations, more adequately addressed in another forum, or unsupported by fact, or which does not raise the probable cause of any unprofessional conduct or which the Bar declines to prosecute, and the complainant appeals the dismissal to the chair of the Committee, the chair conducts a de novo (new) review of the file and may either affirm the dismissal or require the Bar to prepare a Notice of Informal Complaint for hearing by a screening panel.
  • The lawyer may file with the Committee chair an exception to a screening panel’s recommendation to discipline the lawyer with an admonition or a public reprimand.
  • The lawyer may also request a hearing.
  • The Committee chair or a designated screening panel chair will hear the matter as soon as possible. The lawyer may be present for the hearing and may call the complainant as an adverse witness for purposes of cross-examination.
  • Any discipline order by the district court may be submitted for review by the lawyer or the Bar to the Utah Supreme Court pursuant to the Utah Rules of Appellate Procedure. The complainant shall not have a right of appeal except as provided specifically in the rules for the appeal of a dismissal of an informal complaint.

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19. How long will discipline that a lawyer receives count against him or her?

  • In determining an appropriate sanction and only after having found unethical conduct, a screening panel may consider discipline imposed against a lawyer within the five years immediately preceding the alleged offense. However, the Rules do not set a time limit for consideration of prior discipline for disciplinary actions before the district court. Under the Standards, when a lawyer engages in misconduct similar to that for which the lawyer has previously been disciplined, the appropriate sanction will generally be one level more severe than the sanction the lawyer previously received, provided that the harm requisite for the higher sanction is present. A prior record of discipline may constitute an aggravating circumstance that may justify an increase in the degree of discipline to be imposed.

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20. How long are the records kept?

  • After seven years the Bar expunges all records or other evidence of the existence of any informal complaint terminated by dismissal or a declination to prosecute. The lawyer will be given prompt written notice of the expungement.
  • All screening panel testimony is recorded and preserved so long as proceedings are pending, and in any event, not less than six months following the hearing.
  • The Bar maintains records of other discipline and disability matters permanently.

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21. What information is publicly available about informal complaints against a lawyer, any pending district court actions, or a lawyer’s disciplinary record?

  • After a file has been expunged at the end of seven years because an informal complaint was terminated by dismissal or a declination to prosecute, the Bar will respond to inquiries about the matter by stating that “there is no record of such matter.” The lawyer may answer any inquiry requiring a reference to an expunged matter by stating that “no formal complaint was made.”
  • Prior to filing a formal complaint against a lawyer in district court, or the issuance of a public reprimand order by the chair of the Committee pursuant to the Rules, the proceeding is confidential except that the pendency, subject matter, and status of an investigation may be disclosed by the Bar if the proceeding is based on allegations that have been disseminated through the mass media, or include either the conviction of a crime or reciprocal discipline.
  • The proceeding is not deemed confidential if the lawyer has waived confidentiality; if there is a need to notify another person or organization in order to protect the public, the administration of justice, or the legal profession; or the information is required in a subsequent sanctions hearing.
  • The district court for good cause shown may issue a protective order prohibiting the disclosure of specific information and direct that the proceedings be conducted so as to implement the order.
  • Requests for non-public information shall be denied unless the request is made by the Board of Commissioners, any Bar committee, or the Executive Director of the Bar, and is required for the furtherance of their duties. If the information is provided the lawyer is notified in writing which identifies what information has been requested and by whom, together with a copy of the information proposed to be released. The lawyer has 21 days following the mailing of the notice to object to the disclosure. If the lawyer objects, the information shall remain confidential unless the requesting party obtains a court order authorizing its release.
  • If an otherwise authorized requesting party has not obtained a waiver from the lawyer, and wants nonpublic information without giving notice to the lawyer, the requesting party must certify specific things identified in the rule.
  • The Bar can disclose non-public information without notice to the lawyer if the disclosure is made in the furtherance of an ongoing misconduct investigation of that lawyer and the information sought through that disclosure is essential to that investigation.
  • Notices of suspension, disbarment, resignation with discipline pending, transfer to and from disability status, and petitions for reinstatements or re-admissions are published in the Utah Bar Journal and in a newspaper of general circulation in each judicial district within the state in which the lawyer maintained an office for the practice of law. Additionally, carrying out its responsibility to provide informal guidance on issues related to professional conduct, the Bar publishes disciplinary results in the Utah Bar Journal. The Bar publishes summaries of private admonitions but omits any details which identify the lawyer.

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22. What if a lawyer is disciplined in Utah and is licensed in other jurisdictions?

  • The Bar transmits notice of public discipline and resignation with discipline pending to the disciplinary enforcement agency of every jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted, and to the National Discipline Data Bank maintained by the American Bar Association.

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Interim Suspension Proceedings

The Rules provide that the Bar may seek a lawyer’s interim suspension pending final resolution of a disciplinary proceeding. These include situations where a lawyer poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public and has either committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or is under a disability (Rule 14-518), and situations in which a lawyer is convicted of a crime that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects (Rule 14-519).

23. What notice is a lawyer entitled to?

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24. Is a lawyer entitled to a hearing before being placed on interim suspension?

  • Yes. If the Bar files a petition pursuant to Rule 14-518, the district court conducts a hearing before the lawyer is placed on interim suspension.
  • There is no provision for a hearing under Rule 14-519. The lawyer may, however, assert any jurisdictional deficiency which establishes the interim suspension may not properly be ordered, such as that the crime does not reflect adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, or that the lawyer is not the individual convicted.

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25. What is the standard of proof in interim suspension proceedings?

  • Petitions for interim suspension pursuant to Rule 14-518 must be established by clear and convincing evidence.
  • In interim suspension proceedings pursuant to Rule 14-519, a certified copy of a judgment of conviction constitutes conclusive evidence that the lawyer committed the crime.

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26. Can a lawyer petition the district court to dissolve the order of interim suspension?

  • Yes. Under both Rule 14-518 and Rule 14-519, the lawyer may move for dissolution of the order of suspension, and in that event, the motion shall be heard and determined as soon as practicable. If a lawyer is placed on interim suspension pursuant to Rule 14-519 and the underlying conviction is reversed or vacated, the order of suspension will be vacated.

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Reinstatement and Readmission Proceedings

When a lawyer has been suspended from the practice of law for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct (as contrasted with failure to pay the annual licensing fee or comply with mandatory continuing legal education requirements) and seeks to return to active status, the proceedings are termed “reinstatement proceedings.” When a lawyer has been disbarred and seeks to regain his or her license, the proceedings are termed “readmission proceedings.”

27. When can a lawyer petition for reinstatement after a suspension?

  • If the suspension has been for a period of six months or less, the lawyer shall be reinstated at the end of the period upon filing with the district court and serving upon the Bar an affidavit stating that the lawyer has fully complied with the requirements of the suspension order. If the Bar objects in a timely manner, the district court conducts a hearing.
  • If the suspension is for more than six months, the lawyer must petition the district court for reinstatement.
  • The lawyer must wait to petition until three months before the period for suspension has expired.

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28. When can a lawyer petition for readmission after disbarment?

  • A lawyer may petition for readmission no fewer than five years after the effective date of the disbarment.
  • Prior to the filing of a petition for readmission, the lawyer must receive a report and recommendation from the Bar’s Character and Fitness Committee, the lawyer must satisfy all other requirements as set forth in the Bar’s Rules Governing Admission.

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29. When can a lawyer petition for readmission if he or she was placed on interim suspension, then disbarred?

  • If the lawyer was disbarred for the same misconduct that was the ground for interim suspension, the lawyer may petition for readmission at the expiration of five years from the effective date of the interim suspension.

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30. What if the Bar opposes a lawyer’s petition?

  • The district court conducts a hearing at which the lawyer has the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she has met each of the criteria set in Rule 14-525, or if not, that there is good and sufficient reason why the lawyer should nevertheless be reinstated or readmitted.

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31. Are reinstatement or readmission proceedings confidential?

  • No. Upon the filing of a petition for reinstatement, the proceeding is public. When a lawyer files a petition for reinstatement or readmission, the Bar publishes a notice of the petition in the Utah Bar Journal and a newspaper of general circulation in each judicial district within the state in which the lawyer maintained an office for the practice of law.

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32. What is the standard of proof in reinstatement and readmission proceedings and who has the burden of proof?

  • Petitions for reinstatement and readmission shall be established by a preponderance of the evidence. The burden of proof in proceedings seeking reinstatement or readmission is on the lawyer.

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33. When can a lawyer petition again if the district court rejects his or her petition?

  • Unless otherwise ordered by the district court, a lawyer may not apply for reinstatement or readmission within one year following an adverse judgment upon a petition.

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34. What happens if a lawyer has been suspended or disbarred in Utah based solely upon discipline imposed by another jurisdiction, and he or she is reinstated or readmitted in the other jurisdiction?

  • The lawyer may petition for reciprocal reinstatement or readmission in Utah. If the Bar objects in a timely manner, the district court will hold a hearing.

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Disability Proceedings

If a lawyer has been judicially declared incompetent or is involuntarily committed on the grounds of incompetency, the Bar may file a petition with the district court for the immediate transfer of the lawyer to disability status for an indefinite period until further order of the district court.

If a lawyer alleges in the course of a disciplinary proceeding an inability to assist in his or her defense due to mental or physical incapacity, the district court shall immediately transfer the lawyer to disability status pending determination of the incapacity. If the district court finds the claim is valid, the disciplinary proceedings are deferred until the lawyer is returned to active status. If the district court finds the claim invalid, the disciplinary proceedings resume.

35. What if a lawyer is disabled?

  • Information relating to a lawyer’s physical or mental condition which adversely affects the lawyer’s ability to practice law shall be investigated, and where warranted, shall be the subject of formal proceedings to determine whether the lawyer shall be transferred to disability status.

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36. What notice is a lawyer entitled to?

  • The Bar will serve a copy of the order transferring the lawyer to disability status upon the lawyer, the lawyer’s guardian, or, if no guardian or legal representative has been appointed, upon the director of the institution to which the lawyer has been committed. The district court then provides a notice to the lawyer of proceedings in the matter as it deems proper and advisable.

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37. If a lawyer is unable to represent him or herself in a disability proceeding, can he or she get counsel?

  • The district court may appoint counsel to represent the lawyer if the lawyer is without adequate representation.

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38. How is a disability status terminated?

  • Any lawyer transferred to disability status shall be entitled to petition for transfer to active status once a year, or at whatever shorter intervals the district court may direct.
  • The district court grants the petition upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed.
  • If a lawyer transferred to disability status on the basis of a judicial determination of incompetence is subsequently declared to be competent, the district court may dispense with further evidence that the lawyer’s disability has been removed and immediately order the lawyer’s reinstatement to active status.

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39. What rules govern disability proceedings?

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40. What is the standard of proof in disability proceedings and who has the burden of proof?

  • Petitions for transfer to and from disability status are established by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • The district court grants a petition for transfer to active status upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed.
  • If a lawyer transferred to disability status on the basis of a judicial determination of incompetence is subsequently declared to be competent, the district court may dispense with further evidence that the lawyer’s disability has been removed and immediately order the lawyer’s reinstatement to active status.
  • The burden of proof in proceedings seeking transfer to disability status is on the Bar. The burden of proof in proceedings seeking transfer from disability status is on the lawyer.

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41. Are disability proceedings and their results confidential?

  • Proceedings for transfer to or from disability status are confidential. All orders transferring a lawyer to or from disability status are public.
  • Hearings shall be conducted in the same manner as disciplinary proceedings, except that all of the proceedings shall be confidential. A notice of transfer to disability status will be published in the Utah Bar Journal and in a newspaper of general circulation in each judicial district within the state in which the lawyer maintained an office for the practice of law.

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42. Can the disability proceedings be held in abeyance (temporarily put on hold) if a lawyer is involved in pending criminal or civil litigation?

  • Yes. Upon a showing of good cause, a disability proceeding may be stayed because of substantial similarity to the material allegations of a pending criminal, civil, or disciplinary action.

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43. What if a lawyer who is also licensed in other jurisdictions is placed on disability status in Utah?

      • The Bar transmits notice of transfers to or from disability status to the disciplinary enforcement agency of every jurisdiction in which the lawyer is admitted, and to the National Discipline Data Bank maintained by the American Bar Association.

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