(a) Screening panel composition. The Committee members, except for the Committee chair and vice chairs, are divided into four screening panel sections of five members each, including four Lawyers and one public member. Whenever a screening panel is assigned a Complaint involving a licensed paralegal practitioner, the Committee chair may, as practical, assign up to two Committee members who are licensed paralegal practitioners to the screening panel.
(b) Screening panel number. All screening panel hearings must have five panel members present unless all parties agree to fewer than five, but not fewer than three, panel members. A panel chair or vice chair and a public member must be present at each screening panel hearing.
(c) Chair and vice chair. The Supreme Court will name a chair and vice chair for each screening panel. The chair or, in the chair’s absence, vice chair presides over screening panel hearings. The panel chair may call upon the vice chair to assist in any of the panel chair’s duties. Chairs or vice chairs from other panels may conduct hearings if the regular chair and vice chair are unable to attend. If the chair is removed or resigns, the vice chair will become the chair, and the Court will appoint a Committee member to serve as vice chair.
(d) Voting. A majority vote of those members present and voting at any proceeding is required for a screening panel determination. The chair, or vice chair if the chair is not present, may not vote unless necessary to break a tie. The chair or vice chair may, however, fully participate in the proceeding.
(e) Meetings. Each screening panel meets as is necessary to effectively and promptly carry out its duties. The Committee chair may convene the entire Committee at such other times as necessary to effectively and promptly carry out the Committee’s duties.
(f) Alternates. Members of any screening panel may serve as alternate members on different screening panels. The Committee chair and the Committee vice chairs may serve as alternate members on all screening panels.
(1) Complaints are randomly assigned to a screening panel. The screening panels review and hear all Complaints charging that a Lawyer engaged in unethical or unprofessional conduct, and may consider any other relevant information. Screening panels determine the action to be taken on any Complaint that, in applying these rules to the facts of the case, is most consistent with the public interest and the Rules of Professional Conduct or Licensed Paralegal Practitioner Rules of Professional Conduct.
(2) Unless otherwise provided in this article, whenever the OPC may be present before a screening panel during a hearing, the Respondent may also be present.
Effective December 15, 2020