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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:5.23
Subject: Rule 5 - Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary - Complaints and Proceedings Thereon Publication / Adopted Date:June 20, 1995
Topic:Procedure Where Lawyer Is Declared Incapacitated or Disabled or Alleged to Be Incapacitated or DisabledRevised / Effective Date:March 1, 1998


5.23 Procedure Where Lawyer Is Declared Incapacitated or Disabled or Alleged to Be Incapacitated or Disabled

(a) The chief disciplinary counsel may file an information in this Court alleging that a lawyer admitted to practice in Missouri has been adjudicated, incapacitated or disabled, including partial incapacitation or partial disability, or that a lawyer admitted in Missouri is not authorized to practice law in another jurisdiction because the lawyer's mental incapacity renders the lawyer unfit to practice law. Upon proper proof of the facts alleged in the information, this Court shall enter an order suspending such lawyer from the practice of law effective immediately and until further order of this Court. A copy of such order shall be served upon the lawyer or a duly appointed representative in such manner as this Court may direct.

(b) The chief disciplinary counsel and each regional disciplinary committee, with or without formal complaint, shall have the power to investigate in a summary and informal manner any charges, statements, or information that a lawyer is unable to competently represent the interests of the lawyer's clients by reason of physical or mental condition or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, the chief disciplinary counsel or the committee shall proceed to file an information directly in this Court. If, after hearing, this Court finds that the lawyer is unable to competently represent the interests of clients by reason of physical or mental condition or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, it shall enter an order suspending the lawyer until the further order of this Court.

(c) If a lawyer who is the subject of a disciplinary proceeding contends during the proceeding that the lawyer is suffering from a disability by reason of mental infirmity or by reason of addiction to drugs or intoxicants and that the disability makes it impossible for the lawyer to adequately defend, the chief disciplinary counsel or the chair of the committee before which the proceedings are pending shall immediately advise this Court thereof in writing and file an information directly in this Court alleging such disability. Thereupon this Court shall enter an order suspending the lawyer from continuing to practice law until a determination is made of the lawyer's capacity to continue the practice of law. If, after hearing, this Court finds that the lawyer is not so disabled, the disciplinary proceeding against the lawyer shall be immediately resumed. If this Court finds that the lawyer is disabled from continuing to practice law, it shall enter an order suspending the lawyer on the grounds of such disability until further order of this Court. If such order of suspension is entered, the chief disciplinary counsel or the committee before which the disciplinary proceedings are pending may hold such disciplinary proceedings in abeyance during the period of such suspension. If the chief disciplinary counsel or the committee finds that the alleged misconduct is of such nature that disbarment would be warranted if the lawyer were found guilty, disciplinary proceedings shall be resumed; however, the counsel or the committee shall ensure that the lawyer is adequately represented.

(d) As an alternative to proceeding pursuant to Rule 5.23(b), the chief disciplinary counsel and each regional disciplinary committee may refer any lawyer whose ability to practice law may be impaired because of dependence on or use of alcohol, drugs or other chemically addictive substances to the intervention committee created pursuant to Rule 16 for appropriate intervention and confrontation action by the intervention committee.

(Adopted June 20, 1995, eff. Jan 1, 1996. Amended Feb. 13, 1998, eff. Mar. 1, 1998.)