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Investigate allegations against attorneys and LPPs for violating the Rules of Professional Conduct
Prosecute those allegations in accordance with the Rules of Discipline and Disability and the Standards for Imposing Sanctions.
Educate members of the Bar regarding their professional ethical responsibilities through seminars and discipline notices in the Utah Bar Journal.
The purpose of the disciplinary process is to ensure and maintain the high standards of professional conduct required of those who undertake the discharge of professional responsibilities as attorneys and LPPs. The process is designed to protect the public and the administration of justice from attorneys and LPPs who have demonstrated by their conduct that they are unable or likely to be unable to discharge properly their professional responsibilities.
While the OPC is charged with investigating and prosecuting attorneys’ and LPPs’ misconduct, the office does not make the ultimate determination as to whether rules have been violated and it does not impose discipline against attorneys or LPPs. This determination is made by the Utah Supreme Court through either the Ethics and Discipline Committee or the District Courts.
In 2017 at the direction of the Utah Supreme Court, the American Bar Association (“ABA”) conducted a review of the entire disciplinary system. Based upon the ABA’s report, the Utah Supreme Court formed an ad hoc committee to evaluate the report and make recommendations regarding what changes should be implemented. As a first step, the Utah Supreme Court formed an oversight committee for the OPC, and adopted a rule to make clear that the OPC is a part of the Utah Supreme Court’s regulation of the practice of law, and not part of the Utah State Bar. In the coming months more changes will be made to the procedural rules to implement the recommendations as approved by the Utah Supreme Court.
All disciplinary proceedings, including those following informal and formal complaints, are conducted in accordance with the process described in the Rules of Lawyer Discipline and Disability and the Rules Governing Licensed Paralegal Practitioners (“the Rules”). The Rules are construed to achieve “substantial justice and fairness in disciplinary matters with dispatch and at the least expense to all concerned parties.”