Implemented in 2007, the Grievance Referral Program (GRP) is an important component of the attorney discipline system. It was designed to help identify and assist lawyers who have impairment or performance issues and who enter the disciplinary system as a result of minor misconduct. GRP allows the Commission for Lawyer Discipline to refer to the program lawyers who have engaged in minor misconduct and who otherwise meet the GRP eligibility criteria. In exchange for a dismissal of the underlying complaint by the Commission, the respondent lawyer agrees to complete a remedial or rehabilitative program individually tailored to the respondent lawyer’s needs. If the lawyer does not fully complete the terms of the agreement in a timely manner, the underlying complaint moves forward through the usual disciplinary process.
GRP presents an opportunity for respondent lawyers to address the issues that contributed to the misconduct, including issues of law practice management, poor communication skills, substance abuse and mental health. In this way, the public is better protected from future misconduct by the lawyer.
Feedback for the program is strong, indicating that respondent lawyers benefit from participation both on a personal and professional level and receive the support necessary to address the issues that are negatively impacting their ability to practice law.