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Rule 15-515. Access todisciplinary information.

(a) Confidentiality. Prior to the filing of a formal complaint orthe issuance of a public reprimand pursuant to Rule 15-510 in a disciplinematter, the proceeding is confidential, except that the pendency, subjectmatter, and status of an investigation may be disclosed by OPC counsel if theproceeding is based upon allegations that have been disseminated through themass media, or include either the conviction of a crime or reciprocal publicdiscipline. The proceeding shall not be deemed confidential to the extent:

(a)(1) the respondent has given anexpress written waiver of confidentiality;

(a)(2) there is a need to notify another person or organization,including the Bar's Licensed Paralegal Practitioners? Fund for ClientProtection, in order to protect the public, the administration of justice, orthe legal profession; or

(a)(3) the information is required in asubsequent licensed paralegal practitioner sanctions hearing;

(a)(4) a referral is made to the Professionalism Counseling Boardpursuant to Rule 15-510 (a)(4) or (b)(7)(C). In the event of such a referral,OPC counsel, members of the Committee and of any screening panel, and membersof the Professionalism Counseling Board may share all information between andamong them with the expectation that such information will in all otherrespects be subject to applicable confidentiality rules or exceptions.

(b) Public proceedings. Upon the filing of a formal complaint in adiscipline matter, the filing of a petition for reinstatement, or the filing ofa motion or petition for interim suspension, the proceeding is public, exceptas provided in paragraph (d) below.

(c) Proceedings alleging disability. Proceedings for transfer toor from disability status are confidential. All orders transferring arespondent to or from disability status are public.

(d) Protective order. In order to protect the interest of acomplainant, witness, third party, or respondent, the district court may, uponapplication of any person and for good cause shown, issue a protective orderprohibiting the disclosure of specific information and direct that theproceedings be conducted so as to implement the order, including requiring thatthe hearing be conducted in such a way as to preserve the confidentiality ofthe information that is the subject of the application.

(e) Request for nonpublic information. Nonpublic information shallbe confidential, other than as authorized for disclosure under paragraph (a),unless:

(e)(1) the request for information is made by the Board, any Barcommittee, a committee or consultant appointed by the Supreme Court or theBoard to review OPC operations, or the executive director, and is required inthe furtherance of their duties; or

(e)(2) the request for information isapproved by OPC counsel and there is compliance with the provisions ofparagraphs (f) and (g) of this rule.

(f) Notice to the respondent. Except as provided in paragraph (g),if the Committee decides to provide nonpublic information requested pursuant toparagraph (e), and if the respondent has not signed an express written waiverpermitting the party requesting the information to obtain the nonpublicinformation, the respondent shall be notified in writing at the respondent'slast known designated mailing address as shown by Bar records of thatinformation which has been requested and by whom, together with a copy of theinformation proposed to be released. The notice shall advise the respondentthat the information shall be released at the end of 21 days following mailingof the notice unless the respondent objects to the disclosure. If therespondent timely objects to the disclosure, the information shall remainconfidential unless the requesting party obtains a court order authorizing itsrelease.

(g) Release without notice. If a requesting party as outlined inparagraph (e)(2) has not obtained an express written waiver from the respondentto obtain nonpublic information, and requests that the information be releasedwithout giving notice to the respondent, the requesting party shall certifythat:

(g)(1) the request is made in furtheranceof an ongoing investigation into misconduct by the respondent;

(g)(2) the information is essential tothat investigation; and

(g)(3) disclosure of the existence of theinvestigation to the respondent would seriously prejudice that investigation.

(h) OPC counsel can disclose nonpublic information without noticeto the respondent if:

(h)(1) disclosure is made in furtheranceof an ongoing OPC investigation into misconduct by the respondent; and

(h)(2) the information that is soughtthrough disclosure is essential to that investigation.

(i) Duty of participants. All participants in a proceedingunder these rules shall conduct themselves so as to maintain confidentiality. Exceptas authorized by other statutes or rules, persons receiving private recordsunder paragraph (e) will not provide access to the records to anyone else.

 

Effective November 1, 2018