The Kansas Supreme Court has adopted changes to the rules relating to the discipline of attorneys and the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection, effective January 1, 2021.
The changes to rules relating to attorney discipline are extensive and overhaul the existing rules to align with other Supreme Court rules, increase efficiency, clarify the disciplinary process, and codify existing practices.
The changes create separate rules for each subject and reorder the rules to better reflect how a complaint moves through the attorney disciplinary process.
New provisions in the rules outlined in Administrative Order 2020-RL-134 include:
- additional definitions for greater clarity;
- new deadlines for the disciplinary administrator and the respondent to promote an efficient hearing process;
- a clear process for respondents to request subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify at disciplinary hearings;
- expanded use of depositions in attorney disciplinary cases;
- a procedure for parties, by agreement, to submit a disciplinary case directly to the Supreme Court and forgo a hearing before the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys; and
- a provision that addresses using expert witnesses in disciplinary proceedings.
The changes also move the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct from Rule 226 to Rule 240. There are no changes to the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.
Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection
Amendments to the rule relating to the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection outlined in Administrative Order 2020-RL-135 include:
- moving the rule from Rule 227 to Rule 241;
- amendments to transfer administrative duties from the Office of the Clerk of the Appellate Courts to the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator;
- extensive restyling and retooling amendments to align this rule with other Supreme Court rules; and
- minor amendments for clarity.
The changes do not substantively affect the consideration of claims made to the Client Protection Fund Commission, which will now be made to the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator.