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Clerk of the Appellate Courts
Kansas Judicial Center
301 SW 10th Avenue, Room 374
Topeka Kansas 66612-1507
Telephone:  785.296.3229
Fax:  785.296.1028
Email: appellateclerk@kscourts.org


Rules Adopted by the Supreme Court

RULES RELATING TO DISCIPLINE OF ATTORNEYS

Rule 203
Rules Relating to Discipline of Attorneys

Types of Discipline

(a) Misconduct shall be grounds for:

(1) Disbarment by the Supreme Court; or
(2) Suspension by the Supreme Court; or
(3) Censure by the Supreme Court which may or may not be published in the Kansas Reports as ordered by the Court; or
(4) Informal admonition by the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys or the Disciplinary Administrator; or
(5) Any other form of discipline or conditions separate from or connected to any type of discipline stated above, whether or not recommended by a hearing panel, which the Supreme Court deems appropriate.

(b) Temporary Suspension by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court may, on its own motion or on motion of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys or the Disciplinary Administrator, issue a citation directing an attorney against whom disciplinary proceedings are pending or anticipated to appear before the Court and show cause why said attorney's license to practice law should not be suspended during the pendency of such proceedings and, after hearing, the Court may enter an order of suspension for a definite or indefinite period or may discharge the order to show cause.

(c) Automatic temporary suspension of attorneys convicted of a felony crime or any crime mandating registration by the attorney as an “offender” as defined by the Kansas Offender Registration Act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq.


(1) Duty of attorney to report. An attorney who has been charged with a felony crime (as hereinafter defined) or a crime that upon conviction mandates registration by the attorney as an “offender” as defined by K.S.A. 22-4902(a), or with an equivalent offense in any federal court of the United States or the District of Columbia or in any other state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States shall within 14 days inform the Disciplinary Administrator in writing of the charge. The attorney shall inform the Disciplinary Administrator of the disposition of the matter within 14 days of disposition. Notice of appeal does not stay the reporting required under this rule.

(2) Duty of clerk of court. The clerk of any court in this state in which an attorney is convicted of a felony crime or a crime mandating registration as an “offender” pursuant to K.S.A. 22-4902 shall within 14 days after the conviction transmit a certified copy of the judgment of conviction to the Disciplinary Administrator.

(3) Duty of Disciplinary Administrator. Upon receipt of a judgment of felony conviction, the Disciplinary Administrator shall institute appropriate disciplinary proceedings and file the certificate of conviction with the Supreme Court and mail a copy of the same to the attorney.

(4) Automatic temporary suspension. Upon the filing with the Supreme Court of the certificate of conviction showing that any attorney licensed to practice law in Kansas has been found guilty, whether sentenced or not, in any federal court of the United States or the District of Columbia or of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States of a felony crime as hereinafter defined, or of a crime mandating registration by the attorney as an “offender” as defined in K.S.A. 22-4902, the Court shall enter an order immediately and temporarily suspending that attorney from the practice of law until final disposition of the disciplinary proceeding commenced upon such conviction, whether the conviction resulted from a plea of guilty, no contest, or nolo contendere, or from a verdict after trial or otherwise, and regardless of the pendency of any appeal. A copy of the order of suspension shall immediately be served upon the attorney, who then must timely comply with Rule 218. Nothing herein shall be construed to preclude an application by the Disciplinary Administrator for a temporary suspension otherwise allowable by Supreme Court rule of any attorney convicted of any other crime.

(5) Felony crime. The term 'felony' shall include any crime designated a felony in Kansas or the United States or the District of Columbia or any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States; or any criminal offense of the United States or the District of Columbia or of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession of the United States which if committed in Kansas would constitute a felony under Kansas laws.

(6) Vacating automatic temporary suspension order. An attorney suspended under the provisions of paragraph (c)(4) may apply to the Supreme Court, on notice to the Disciplinary Administrator, for reinstatement immediately upon the filing of a certificate demonstrating that the underlying conviction of a felony crime has been reversed or vacated, or upon good cause shown, the Supreme Court may upon application of the attorney with notice to the Disciplinary Administrator or upon its own motion set aside such suspension when it appears consistent with the maintenance of the integrity and honor of the profession, the protection of the public, and the interest of justice. Such order of reinstatement will not terminate any disciplinary proceeding then pending against the attorney.

(7) Disciplinary proceedings. Any disciplinary proceeding arising out of a conviction for a crime shall proceed as any other matter under the Supreme Court's disciplinary rules.

(d) The Attorney Diversion Program is an alternative to traditional disciplinary procedures, and participation in it is a matter of privilege, not of right. The purpose of the program is to protect the public by improving the professional competency of, and providing educational, remedial, and rehabilitative programs for, the members of the bar of Kansas. As a general rule, participants in the program will have had no prior imposition of discipline. The attorney (Respondent), the Complainant and future clients will benefit from assistance provided to an attorney in the diversion process.

(1) DOCKETED COMPLAINTS

(i) Notification. The Respondent shall be notified of the Attorney Diversion Program at the time a complaint is docketed for investigation. At any time during the disciplinary process until the Disciplinary Administrator submits the Rule 204 report to the Review Committee (see [iii] below), the Respondent may submit to the Disciplinary Administrator=s office a request to have the complaint referred to the Attorney Diversion Program. A suggested diversion plan shall be submitted by the Respondent.

(ii) Investigation. All Ethics and Grievance Committee members and investigators must be informed of the Attorney Diversion Program. If the Respondent, during the course of the investigation, makes a request to have the matter referred to the Attorney Diversion Program, the investigator should include a recommendation for or against diversion. In arriving at a recommendation, the investigator should consider all factors and circumstances involved in the complaint, as well as those relevant to the suitability of the Respondent for the diversion program.

The factors to be considered in making the recommendation include the nature of the violation, the duty violated, whether harm resulted to a client, Respondent=s self-reporting the misconduct and taking remedial action, and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances. The critical consideration is whether the diversion process can reasonably be expected to cure, treat, educate, or alter the Respondent=s behavior so as to minimize the risk of similar future misconduct. An additional consideration is the Complainant=s concern that the complaint is being fairly handled and resolved. The Respondent will be disqualified from diversion if the conduct complained of involved self-dealing, dishonesty, or a breach of fiduciary duty. Absent unusual circumstances, the Respondent will be disqualified from the Attorney Diversion Program if the Respondent has been disciplined or previously participated in a diversion program.

(iii) Review by the Disciplinary Administrator. Upon receipt of the investigation report, the Disciplinary Administrator shall review the file and conduct any additional inquiry deemed necessary. In the report to the Review Committee of the Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys required by Supreme Court Rule 204, the Disciplinary Administrator shall include a recommendation for or against diversion. Each recommendation for diversion shall outline the precise components deemed appropriate. All Rule 204 Reports recommending diversion shall be scheduled for discussion at a meeting of the Review Committee.

(iv) Consideration by the Review Committee. Review Committee members shall review all materials forwarded by the Disciplinary Administrator and the Respondent when considering the suitability of the complaint and the Respondent for eligibility under the Attorney Diversion Program. The Review Committee shall also consider the likely effectiveness of the proposed plan in resolving the situation to the Complainant=s satisfaction and in preventing similar misconduct by the Respondent in the future. The Review Committee may make a referral to the Attorney Diversion Program or take any action permitted under Supreme Court Rule 210(c).

A Review Committee referral to the diversion program is equivalent to a finding under Supreme Court Rule 210(c) that there is probable cause to believe that the Respondent has violated the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 226. That finding will remain confidential despite Rule 222(d) if the diversion is completed successfully.

(2) REFERRAL TO THE ATTORNEY DIVERSION PROGRAM

(i) Effect of Entering into Diversion Agreement. By entering into a diversion agreement, the Respondent stipulates to the factual allegations and rule violations contained in the Rule 204 report or to factual allegations and rule violations that can be mutually agreed upon by the Disciplinary Administrator and the Respondent.

(ii) Fees. Each Respondent entering the Attorney Diversion Program shall pay an initial fee of $250. During the period of diversion, the Respondent shall also pay a fee of $50 per month. All such fees are payable to the Disciplinary Fee Fund established by Supreme Court Rule 208(h). The Office of the Disciplinary Administrator may consider and grant a hardship deferral of these fees upon the Respondent=s application.

(iii) Creating the Diversion Agreement. Within 2 weeks of a final decision referring a complaint to the Attorney Diversion Program, the Disciplinary Administrator=s office will schedule a meeting with the Respondent, counsel for the Respondent, and, if designated by the Disciplinary Administrator, a representative of statewide or local bar association committees.

The statewide or local bar association committees, from which representatives may be designated for creating and implementing an agreement, shall include (a) fee dispute resolution; (b) lawyer assistance; (c) mediation of minor disputes; (d) law office management; (e) continuing legal education; and (f) mentoring.

Those attending the initial diversion meeting will discuss and negotiate an agreement between the Respondent and the Disciplinary Administrator=s office designed to address the problem or problems identified in the Rule 204 report. Where appropriate, specific tasks and deadlines concerning the diversion shall be assigned. The Complainant=s position should be carefully considered, but the formation of a diversion agreement is not contingent on the Complainant=s approval.

(iv) Final Diversion Agreement. The Disciplinary Administrator=s office shall prepare the final written diversion agreement. The agreement shall be signed by the Respondent, Respondent=s counsel, and a representative of the Disciplinary Administrator=s office.

If no satisfactory agreement can be reached, traditional formal disciplinary procedures shall resume. The Respondent=s decision not to participate in the diversion program or failure to reach a satisfactory diversion agreement shall not be considered as an aggravating factor in the resulting formal disciplinary proceeding.

(v) Implementing and Monitoring the Agreement. During the term of the agreement, on a periodic basis, the Respondent shall report progress to the Disciplinary Administrator=s office or to one or more members of a local bar or statewide bar association committee designated by the Disciplinary Administrator in the agreement. The designated committee member(s) shall monitor and supervise the progress of the Respondent and shall immediately report noncompliance or other problems or suggestions to the Disciplinary Administrator=s office. Failure to complete the diversion agreement in a timely and diligent manner will result in the Respondent=s termination from the Attorney Diversion Program and the return of the complaint to the traditional formal disciplinary process.

The committee members designated in the diversion agreement (or otherwise) to supervise an attorney in the Attorney Diversion Program may submit their diversion-related expenses to the Disciplinary Administrator=s office for reimbursement.

(vi) Completion of the Attorney Diversion Program. Successful completion of the diversion agreement shall be reported back to the Review Committee by the Disciplinary Administrator and will result in the dismissal of the complaint. Information regarding a successfully completed diversion agreement will remain confidential and not available to the public. However, the information may be considered in any future disciplinary matters involving the Respondent by the Disciplinary Administrator=s office as prior discipline.

(vii) Failure to Complete the Attorney Diversion Program. If the Respondent fails to complete the agreed tasks in a timely manner at any point in the diversion process, he or she may be terminated from the program. If such a termination occurs, traditional formal disciplinary procedures will resume. When the complaint is returned to the formal disciplinary process, the Respondent=s termination from the Attorney Diversion Program may be cited as an additional aggravating factor in recommending discipline and as a violation of Supreme Court Rule 207 and KRPC 8.1.

(3) MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS

(i) Keeping Statistical Information on the Diversion Program. The Disciplinary Administrator=s office shall maintain annual statistical records of the numbers of complaints assigned to the Attorney Diversion Program, including the final dispositions, the number of diversion agreements reached, the number of complaints returned to the traditional disciplinary process, and the success or failure of Respondents in completing their diversion agreements. An attempt should be made to monitor the recidivism rate for attorneys who successfully complete the program.

(ii) Confidentiality. Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 207 and KRPC 8.3, but subject to Rule 206, any prior or subsequent violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 226, that were not identified in the original written complaint but are revealed during the diversion process shall be reported for review to the Disciplinary Administrator.

(iii) Complainant Participation. Although the Complainant does not have any right to insist that the formal disciplinary process be followed and cannot veto a diversion, at any time he or she may provide additional information regarding the complaint or the diversion process. The Complainant shall be advised whether the Respondent successfully completed the Attorney Diversion Program.


[History: Am. May 8, effective July 1, 1978; Am. effective January 8, 1979; Am. effective March 1, 1988; Am. effective January 4, 1994; Am. (d) effective September 18, 2001; Am. (d) effective February 27, 2002; Am. (c) effective July 1, 2010.]

See also: Rule 1001 - Electronic and Photographic Media Coverage of Judicial Proceedings