Southern District proposes amended discipline rules

October 18, 2018

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana is seeking public comment on a proposed amendment that would completely reframe its current discipline enforcement rules.

The Local Rules Advisory Committee for the Southern District of Indiana proposed the new rules Tuesday, which would provide “enhanced independent authority” for Southern District judges to discipline attorneys practicing before the court in the event of misconduct.

Public comments on the proposed amendments will be accepted through November 16. If adopted, the amendments will go into effect Dec. 1, 2018. The proposal completely rewrites the Southern District’s Local Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement.

“The proposed new rules are in keeping with how many other courts handle attorney discipline. They provide a procedural framework for the court, as well as any attorney who may be the subject of a disciplinary action in the Southern District of Indiana,” said Clerk of Court Laura Briggs.

Briggs added that the new rules were drafted “to provide a new and updated framework for handling instances of alleged attorney misconduct,” not so much to modify the existing rules.

Local Rules Advisory Committee chairman John Maley of Barnes & Thornburg said a subcommittee was formed to review and rewrite the rules earlier this year.

“The Court asked the Local Rules Committee to consider drafting new rules that would empower the Court to also undertake disciplinary proceedings against an attorney independently, as is common in many other federal courts,” Maley said. “The amendments are procedural, not substantive.”

Maley believes the new set of rules is much improved from a structure, organization, and ease-of-reading standpoint.



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