While there have been several publications describing the bar discipline process for violations of the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct, no work has described that process in great detail while also analyzing the related sanctions. The treatise seeks to fill this gap and make the practice more accessible to participants and observers by referencing, in a single volume, materials that had not previously been collected and analyzed. We begin with an overview of the history of bar discipline in the Commonwealth, followed by a discussion of the participants in, and structure of, the disciplinary process. Part II takes the reader through the steps of a typical bar discipline case from the initial complaint through the hearing. Part III discusses in detail some typical misconduct, including that related to competence, confidentiality, safekeeping of trust property, and advertising—and the sanctions typically imposed for it. This is followed by a discussion in Part IV of conduct that may aggravate or mitigate the presumptive sanction. Lastly, Part V discusses the post-hearing process as well as reciprocal discipline, resignations, duties after suspension or disbarment, reinstatement, and registration. While this volume is not a dissertation on legal ethics per se, it addresses the Rules of Professional Conduct as they arise in bar discipline.
Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
State and Local Government Law
- Date submitted
6 September 2022