.0102 Procedure for Discipline
(a) The procedure to discipline members of the bar of this state will be in accordance with the provisions hereinafter set forth.
(b) Role of District Bars - District bars will not conduct separate proceedings to discipline members of the bar but will assist and cooperate with the North Carolina State Bar in reporting and investigating matters of alleged misconduct on the part of its members.
(c) Concurrent Jurisdiction of State Bar and Courts
(1) The Council of the North Carolina State Bar - The Council of the North Carolina State Bar is vested, as an agency of the state, with the control of the discipline, disbarment, and restoration of attorneys practicing law in this state.
(2) Inherent Authority of State Courts - The courts of this state have inherent authority to take disciplinary action against attorneys practicing therein, even in relation to matters not pending in the court exercising disciplinary authority.
(3) Separate Authority of State Bar and State Courts - The authority of the North Carolina State Bar and the courts to discipline attorneys is separate and distinct, the North Carolina State Bar having derived its jurisdiction by legislative act and the courts from the inherent power of the courts themselves.
(4) Separate Powers and Actions - Neither the North Carolina State Bar nor the courts are authorized or empowered to act for or in the name of the other, and the disciplinary action taken by either entity should be clearly delineated as to the source or basis for the action being taken.
(5) Courts Not Authorized to Preempt State Bar Action - It is the position of the North Carolina State Bar that no trial court has the authority to preempt a North Carolina State Bar disciplinary proceeding with a pending civil or criminal court proceeding involving attorney conduct, or to dismiss a disciplinary proceeding pending before the North Carolina State Bar.
(6) State Bar Deferal to State Court - Whenever the North Carolina State Bar learns that a court has initiated an inquiry or proceeding regarding alleged improper or unethical conduct of an attorney, the North Carolina State Bar may defer to the court and stay its own proceeding pending completion of the court's inquiry or proceeding. Upon request, the North Carolina State Bar will assist in the court's inquiry or proceeding.
(7) State Court Deferral to State Bar - If the North Carolina State Bar finds probable cause and institutes disciplinary proceedings against an attorney for conduct which subsequently becomes an issue in a criminal or civil proceeding, the court may, in its discretion, defer its inquiry pending the completion of the North Carolina State Bar's proceedings.
(8) Copies of State Bar Complaint - Upon the filing of a complaint by the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina State Bar will send a copy of the complaint to the chief resident superior court judge and to all superior court judges regularly assigned to the district in which the attorney maintains his or her law office. The North Carolina State Bar will send a copy of the complaint to the district attorney in the district in which the attorney maintains a law office if the complaint alleges criminal activity by the attorney.
(9) Status of Relevant Complaints Prior to Action by the Court - The North Carolina State Bar will encourage judges to contact the North Carolina State Bar to determine the status of any relevant complaints filed against an attorney before the court takes disciplinary action against the attorney.
History Note: Statutory Authority G.S. 84-23; G.S. 84-36
Readopted Effective December 8, 1994