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Supreme Court Rules

Section/Rule:5.10
Subject: Rule 5 - Rules Governing the Missouri Bar and the Judiciary - Complaints and Proceedings Thereon Publication / Adopted Date:June 20, 1995
Topic:Complaint Resolution Program GuidelinesRevised / Effective Date:July 1, 2003

The Missouri Bar Complaint Resolution Program Guidelines

Pursuant to Rule 5.10, the chief disciplinary counselís office will refer to the complaint resolution program those complaints it believes may be resolved through an alternative resolution process rather than through formal disciplinary proceedings. Such complaints shall be processed as provided by these guidelines.

The complaint resolution program shall be administered by a three person complaint resolution committee which will oversee the complaint resolution panel of volunteers, hereinafter referred to as panel members, as well as the complaint resolution program staff coordinator. The complaint resolution committee shall be appointed by The Missouri Bar Board of Governors, with the chair designated by the president of The Missouri Bar. The terms of the complaint resolution committee appointees shall be for three years, except with the first committee having staggered one, two and three year terms. No committee member shall be requested to serve more than two successive terms. Terms of the panel members shall be for four years, and no member shall be requested to serve more than two successive terms.

The complaint resolution program staff coordinator shall have the duties of maintaining all files received; assignment of panel members; giving notices; making arrangements for all conferences; record keeping; compiling of reports to The Missouri Bar and chief disciplinary counsel; and handling administrative tasks. The complaint resolution program staff coordinator shall be designated by the executive director of The Missouri Bar.

The chief disciplinary counsel will first determine whether the complaint appears appropriate for referral to the complaint resolution program. After a complaint is referred to the complaint resolution program, the complaint resolution program will solicit an answer from the respondent lawyer. Once the answer is received, The complaint resolution program chair or staff coordinator will assign the matter to a resolution panel member who will solicit further information from the parties and hold a mediation-like conference. Following the conference, the panel member will prepare an appropriate report to be returned to the complaint resolution program coordinator for forwarding to the chief disciplinary counselís office. If the respondent lawyer does not participate, or if it appears that the respondent has engaged in serious misconduct, the matter will be returned to the chief disciplinary counsel for further proceedings. If the complainant does not participate, the complaint resolution committee will refer the complaint back to the chief disciplinary counsel noting such.

The goal of this program is to assist the chief disciplinary counsel in the resolution of grievances and to assure the public and the legal profession that such grievances can be resolved in a just fashion and in accordance with the participation and reasonable expectations of all parties.

Lawyers will be nominated to serve on the complaint resolution program by the president of The Missouri Bar, who will forward their names to The Missouri Bar board of governors for consideration for appointment to the complaint resolution program. In order to keep The Missouri Bar apprised of the complaint resolution program's work, the complaint resolution program will make a quarterly report to the president of The Missouri Bar concerning the progress of the complaint resolution program.

(Adopted June 20, 1995, Effective September 1, 1996. Amended May 13, 2003, Effective July 1, 2003.)