A hearing on a complaint is held only if a formal disciplinary proceeding is begun.
When a formal disciplinary hearing takes place, a three-member hearing committee or officer appointed by the Chairperson of the Disciplinary Board (but not consisting of Board members) convenes to take evidence. The procedure is similar to a civil trial. The complaining party may be called as a witness. Testimony is given under oath, and documentary exhibits are submitted. A full record is kept of the proceedings.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the hearing committees, the Disciplinary Board and the Supreme Court use the "ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Discipline" as guidelines to determine the appropriate level of discipline in a case. Click here to see the "ABA Standards for Imposing Lawyer Discipline."