The Texas attorney discipline system is administered by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (CDC), which is designed to be the “Bar’s law office,” and whose work is overseen by the Commission for Lawyer Discipline. The CDC represents the Commission in disciplinary litigation. Professionalism and results are directly tied to the public’s perception of the ability of the State Bar of Texas to discipline its own lawyers and protect the public from unethical practitioners. In recognition of this close connection, emphasis is placed on the quality of disciplinary prosecutions, identification of disability or impairment problems, solutions for attorneys in need of law practice management or other basic skills, and innovative ways to maintain open communication between the public and the Bar.
The Chief Disciplinary Counsel operates the discipline system with 91 full-time employees, including 34 lawyers, 11 investigators, 31 legal support staff, 11 administrative support staff, and 4 administrative managers. In addition to its headquarters in Austin, the CDC has Regional Offices in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Each Regional Office is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of disciplinary matters within its region and is managed by a Regional Counsel.
CDC obtained sanctions in 402 cases resolving 516 complaints in the 2011-2012 Bar year. Fifty-four of these cases were resolved through the Grievance Referral Program. CDC pursued 19 compulsory discipline cases before BODA, obtaining disbarment in 7 cases, suspensions in 3 cases, resignations in lieu of discipline in 4 cases, and interlocutory orders of suspension in 5 cases. CDC obtained judgments ordering reciprocal discipline in 6 cases, including 3 disbarments, 1 suspension, and 2 public reprimands. CDC sought and obtained 2 revocations of probation resulting in active suspensions for the respondent attorney.