First-time and/or relatively non-serious ethical violations usually result in the imposition of private discipline, of which there are three forms: (1) an informal admonition is imposed by the ODC without a hearing; (2) a formal admonition imposed by the Disciplinary Board following hearing proceedings; or (3) a private reprimand is imposed by the Disciplinary Board following hearing proceedings. Because a private admonition and private reprimand are imposed by the full Disciplinary Board it is considered a more serious sanction than an informal admonition.
The identity of a privately-disciplined attorney cannot be revealed by the Disciplinary Board or the ODC. However, disciplinary sanctions are cumulative, and the imposition of an admonition or reprimand in one case can be used against the attorney as an aggravating factor should he or she be found guilty of an ethical violation in the future. The previously private admonition or reprimand can then become public.