The Kansas Supreme Court announced today it has selected Gayle Larkin to serve as disciplinary administrator and lead the office responsible for investigating attorney misconduct complaints.
Larkin’s appointment takes effect October 3. She will succeed Stan Hazlett, who retired September 3 after 24 years in the position.
“Gayle is well-versed in the attorney discipline process, and she has practical experience managing the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office,” said Chief Justice Marla Luckert. “She’s also a skilled leader who has worked with countless attorneys who volunteer their time in support of the attorney discipline function. We appreciate she is willing to take on this new role, and we look forward to a smooth transition for this office.”
Larkin has served as counsel to the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys since 1999. In that role she drafted more than 500 final hearing reports in attorney discipline cases. She also helped the disciplinary administrator carry out administrative duties related to managing the office, including personnel matters, budgeting, and contracts.
Larkin has also overseen character and fitness investigations of bar applicants and she has presented more than 60 cases before the Kansas Board of Law Examiners.
“I am thrilled for the opportunity to serve the Supreme Court, the people of Kansas, and my profession in this new capacity,” Larkin said. “I have dedicated my career to the Kansas attorney discipline system. As disciplinary administrator, my goals are to be part of the solution, to provide guidance to attorneys, and to protect members of the public.”
In her years with the attorney discipline office, Larkin wrote the 2009, 2017, and 2020 editions of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys Disciplinary Investigator’s Handbook. She also wrote Attorney Discipline: Rules, Standards and Cases in 2000. She co-wrote chapters on attorney discipline in the 2009 and 2015 editions of the Kansas Ethics Handbook published by the Kansas Bar Association.
Before joining the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office in 1999, Larkin had a private law practice in Lawrence, served as an assistant attorney general, and served as an assistant district attorney in Douglas County. She has been an adjunct professor at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, since 1998, teaching courses on business, media, and criminal law, criminal investigations, critical thinking, and negotiations.
Justice Eric Rosen, who is liaison between the Disciplinary Administrator’s Office and the Supreme Court, said Larkin appreciates the nuanced behaviors that get attorneys into trouble.
“Gayle understands the distinction between willful indifference to the rules that govern ethical attorney behavior and the distress signal brought about by medical or psychological problems, or substance abuse, which is oftentimes a critical factor in lawyer discipline matters,” Rosen said. “She will be firm but fair, a necessary combination for a successful disciplinary administrator.”
The Kansas Disciplinary Administrator's Office works under the direction of the Supreme Court. The disciplinary administrator:
- reviews and investigates complaints of misconduct against attorneys;
- holds public hearings when appropriate and recommends discipline to the Supreme Court in serious matters; and
- provides education and resources for Kansas attorneys to prevent the occurrence of misconduct.
An attorney involved in a disciplinary matter can be referred to the Kansas Lawyers Assistance Program, which is a source of confidential help for lawyers with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental health issues.
Larkin has an undergraduate degree from Baker University, and a law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law. She currently serves as a director of the National Council of Lawyer Disciplinary Boards and she is a member of the National Organization of Bar Counsel and the National Client Protection Organization. She has been a faculty senator at Baker University since April 2021. She lives in Lawrence.