SUSPENSION OR REMOVAL FROM THE SERVICE
The purpose of this policy is to establish a fair procedure for suspending or removing a panel member from an LRS panel.
2. SUSPENSION PENDING RESOLUTION OF ACTION FOR SUSPENSION OR REMOVAL FROM THE SERVICE
To ensure quality legal services and the protection of the public, the LRS Committee may by two-thirds vote suspend a panel member’s participation for up to ninety days for investigation of complaints. The suspension may continue beyond the 90-day period during any pending disciplinary action initiated after investigation. The LRS Committee shall inform the panel member of the suspension for investigation. Any suspension for the purpose of investigation is not the imposition of discipline under Paragraph 3 below.
3. PROCEDURE FOR SUSPENSION OR REMOVAL FROM THE SERVICE
The procedure for imposing discipline shall be as follows:
1. Initiation of Proceeding for Suspension or Removal from the Service. An LRS Committee member, staff member, or client may file with the Governing Committee a written statement setting forth the name of the panel member and an explanation of why the member should be suspended or removed from the Service. A statement from an LRS client need not specifically request discipline of the member. Upon receiving such a statement, the Governing Committee may, upon a two-thirds vote, direct the LRS Committee to investigate the member.
2. Notice to Applicant/Panel Member. The LRS Committee shall provide written notice to the panel member that denial, suspension or removal action has been initiated. The notice shall explain the factual basis of the complaint and offer a meaningful opportunity to respond.
3. Opportunity to Respond. A panel member subject to investigation or disciplinary action may present evidence why he or she should not be suspended or removed from the Service. The LRS Committee shall provide the panel member a reasonable time in which to present opposing evidence and argument. The LRS Committee may decide a case on the basis of the written materials or, at the request of the panel member, shall hold an evidentiary hearing.
4. Scheduling of Hearings. If an oral hearing is requested, the LRS Committee shall schedule it no sooner than thirty and no later than ninety days after issuing the written notice described in Section 3.2 and give written notice of the date, time, and place.
5. Continuances. The LRS Committee has the discretion to grant reasonable continuances of the hearing.
6. Failure of Parties to Appear. If the panel member fails to appear at the hearing at the specified time and place, the LRS Committee may hear and review any evidence and make any decision it could have made had all parties been present.
7. Records. The LRS Committee may require either party to the hearing to provide any relevant books, records, and papers.
8. Access to Records Before the Hearing. Before the hearing, the panel member may inspect and copy his or her LRS member file, including all documents that the LRS Committee intends to present at the hearing.
9. Hearing Officer. A member of the LRS Governing Committee who is not a member of the LRS Committee shall act as hearing officer. The hearing officer will take all steps to maintain order and decorum during the hearing.
10. Right of Assistance. All parties to a hearing may have assistance of counsel or of any other person they designate.
11. Evidence. The hearing shall not be conducted according to technical rules of evidence. Any relevant evidence shall be considered if it is the sort of evidence upon which a reasonable person would rely in the conduct of business affairs. The hearing officer may exclude unduly repetitious or irrelevant evidence. All witnesses shall testify under oath and shall be subject to cross-examination. Either party may audio record the proceeding or have a court reporter present to transcribe it at that party’s expense.
12. Burden of Proof. The LRS Committee may decide to suspend or remove a member only if the preponderance of the evidence submitted at the hearing shows good cause for discipline. Initially the LRS Committee has the burden of proof in the proceeding. If a prima facie case is made, the burden switches to the panel member to show why discipline should not be imposed.
13. Hearing Record. After the hearing, the panel member may inspect and copy the hearing record. The panel member will bear the expense of any copying. The hearing record shall include the following:
- All exhibits, papers, and documents offered either before or during proceedings;
- A list of participants present;
- All findings; and
- All final decisions, orders, or rulings.
14. Time for Making Proposed Decision. The LRS Committee shall issue its proposed decision within forty-five days after the hearing concludes.
15. Proposed Decision. The LRS Committee shall prepare a proposed decision and send copies to the panel member and to the Governing Committee. A proposed decision to suspend or remove a panel member from one or more panels shall set forth the cause for the suspension or removal and the date the discipline is to take effect. The proposed decision shall become final upon approval by the Governing Committee. The Governing Committee shall inform the panel member of its decision.
16. Final Permissible Disciplinary Actions. A panel member may be reprimanded, suspended, or removed from one or more panels.
5. CONFIDENTIALITY OF PROCEEDINGS FOR SUSPENSION OR REMOVAL. All communications, deliberations, records and results or the LRS Committee and the Governing Committee regarding disciplinary matters are confidential.
6. NO REFUNDS – A panel member removed from one or more panels shall not be entitled to a refund of fees paid to the LRS.