New NY rules in effect for disciplining attorneys

Posted at 8:12 AM, Oct 07, 2016

New rules are now in effect statewide for investigating and disciplining attorneys for misconduct.

The rules, which took effect Oct. 1, were adopted by all four of New York's appellate divisions last year in an effort to eliminate regional differences in handling complaints.

Disciplinary committees in the appellate divisions and their chief attorneys are to investigate and review cases, with proceedings kept confidential unless attorneys are disbarred or suspended for misconduct.

Lawyers who say they were impaired by drugs, alcohol or physical or mental illness can have their proceeding stayed while they complete a treatment program.

New York has nearly 300,000 licensed lawyers, and the disciplinary committees receive about 11,000 to 12,000 complaints a year.

According to a judicial commission, about 90 percent are unfounded.