Rule 215. Discipline on consent.
(a) Voluntary resignation.An attorney who is the subject of an investigation into allegations of misconduct by the attorney may submit a resignation, but only by delivering to Disciplinary Counsel or the Secretary of the Board a verified statement stating that the attorney desires to resign and that:
(1) the resignation is freely and voluntarily rendered; the attorney is not being subjected to coercion or duress; the attorney is fully aware of the implications of submitting the resignation; and whether or not the attorney has consulted or followed the advice of counsel in connection with the decision to resign;
(2) the attorney is aware that there is a presently pending investigation into allegations that the attorney has been guilty of misconduct the nature of which the verified statement shall specifically set forth;
(3) the attorney acknowledges that the material facts upon which the complaint is predicated are true;
(4) the resignation is being submitted because the attorney knows that if charges were predicated upon the misconduct under investigation the attorney could not successfully defend against them;
(5) the attorney is fully aware that the submission of the resignation statement is irrevocable and that the attorney can only apply for reinstatement to the practice of law pursuant to the provisions of Enforcement Rule 218(b) and (c);
(6) the attorney is aware that pursuant to subdivision (c) of this Rule, the fact that the attorney has tendered his or her resignation shall become a matter of public record immediately upon delivery of the resignation statement to Disciplinary Counsel or the Secretary of the Board;
(7) upon entry of the order disbarring the attorney on consent, the attorney will promptly comply with the notice, withdrawal, resignation, trust accounting, and cease-and-desist provisions of subdivisions (a), (b), (c) and (d) of Enforcement Rule 217;
(8) after the entry of the order disbarring the attorney on consent, the attorney will file a verified statement of compliance as required by subdivision (e)(1) of Enforcement Rule 217; and
(9) the attorney is aware that the waiting period for eligibility to apply for reinstatement to the practice of law under Enforcement Rule 218(b) shall not begin until the attorney files the verified statement of compliance required by Enforcement Rule 217(e)(1), and if the order of disbarment contains a provision that makes the disbarment retroactive to an earlier date, then the waiting period will be deemed to have begun on that earlier date.
(b) Order of disbarment.Upon receipt of the required statement, the Secretary of the Board shall file it with the Supreme Court and the Court shall enter an order disbarring the attorney on consent.
(c) Confidentiality of resignation statement.The fact that the attorney has submitted a resignation statement to Disciplinary Counsel or the Secretary of the Board for filing with the Supreme Court shall become a matter of public record immediately upon delivery of the resignation statement to Disciplinary Counsel or the Secretary of the Board. The order disbarring the attorney on consent shall be a matter of public record. If the statement required under the provisions of subdivision (a) of this rule is submitted before the filing and service of a petition for discipline and the filing of an answer or the time to file an answer has expired, the statement shall not be publicly disclosed or made available for use in any proceeding other than a subsequent reinstatement proceeding except:
(1) upon order of the Supreme Court,
(2) pursuant to an express written waiver by the attorney,
(3) upon a request of another jurisdiction for purposes of a reciprocal disciplinary proceeding,
(4) upon a request by the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security Board pursuant to Enforcement Rule 521(a) (relating to cooperation with Disciplinary Board), or
(5) when the resignation is based on an order of temporary suspension from the practice of law entered by the Court either pursuant to Enforcement Rule 208(f)(1) (relating to emergency temporary suspension orders and related relief) or pursuant to Enforcement Rule 214 (relating to attorneys convicted of crimes).
(d) Other Discipline on Consent.At any stage of a disciplinary investigation or proceeding, a respondent-attorney and Disciplinary Counsel may file a joint Petition in Support of Discipline on Consent. The Petition shall include the specific factual allegations that the attorney admits he or she committed, the specific Rules of Professional Conduct and Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement allegedly violated and a specific recommendation for discipline. The Petition shall be accompanied by an affidavit stating that the attorney consents to the recommended discipline and that:
(1) the consent is freely and voluntarily rendered; the attorney is not being subjected to coercion or duress; the attorney is fully aware of the implications of submitting the consent; and whether or not the attorney has consulted or followed the advice of counsel in connection with the decision to consent to discipline;
(2) the attorney is aware that there is presently pending an investigation into, or proceeding involving, allegations that the respondent-attorney has been guilty of misconduct as set forth in the Petition;
(3) the attorney acknowledges that the material facts set forth in the Petition are true; and
(4) the attorney consents because the attorney knows that if charges predicated upon the matter under investigation were filed, or continued to be prosecuted in the pending proceeding, the attorney could not successfully defend against them.
(e) Handling of Petition.The Petition shall be filed with the Board. The filing of the Petition shall stay any pending proceeding before a hearing committee, special master or the Board. The Petition shall be reviewed by a panel composed of three members of the Board who may approve or deny.
(f) Private discipline.If a panel approves a Petition consenting to an informal admonition or private reprimand, with or without probation, the Board shall enter an appropriate order, and the Board shall arrange to have the attorney appear before Disciplinary Counsel for the purpose of receiving an informal admonition or before a designated panel of three members selected by the Board Chair for the purpose of receiving a private reprimand.
(g) Public discipline.
(1) If a panel approves a Petition consenting to a public reprimand, the Board shall enter an appropriate order, and the Board shall arrange to have the attorney appear before the Board or a designated panel of three members selected by the Board Chair for the purpose of receiving a public reprimand.
(2) If a panel approves a Petition consenting to public censure or suspension, the Board shall file the recommendation of the panel and the Petition with the Supreme Court. If the Court grants the Petition, the Court shall enter an appropriate order disciplining the attorney on consent.
(h) Denial of Petition.If either the panel of the Board or the Supreme Court denies a Petition, the members of the Board who participated on the reviewing panel shall not participate in further consideration of the same matter. Any stayed proceedings shall resume as if the Petition had not been filed and neither the Petition nor the affidavit may be used against the attorney in any disciplinary proceeding or any other judicial proceeding.
(i) Costs.The panel of the Board in its discretion may direct that the necessary expenses incurred in the investigation and prosecution of the matter shall be paid by the attorney as a condition to the grant of the Petition. All expenses taxed under this subdivision shall be paid by the attorney before the imposition of discipline under subdivision (f) or (g).
The provisions of this Rule 215 amended October 10, 1980, effective February 8, 1981, 10 Pa.B. 4029; amended November 7, 1988, effective November 25, 1988, 18 Pa.B. 5248; amended February 7, 1989, effective February 25, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 764; amended May 24, 2005, 35 Pa.B. 3286; amended October 26, 2005, effective upon publication of this Order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin and shall apply to all matters thereafter commenced and to those matters pending at the time in which a petition for discipline or a petition for reinstatement has not been filed, 35 Pa.B. 6226; amended December 12, 2008, effective immediately, 38 Pa.B. 7079; amended May 17, 2012, effective in 30 days, 42 Pa.B. 3127; amended December 30, 2014, effective in 60 days, 45 Pa.B. 279. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (371462) and (361739) to (361740).
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