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.
In the 2014-2015 bar year, CDC obtained sanctions in 318 cases, resolving 416 complaints. Sixty-three of these cases were resolved through the Grievance Referral Program. CDC pursued 18 compulsory discipline cases before the Board of Disciplinary Appeals (BODA) and obtained disbarment in seven of those cases, resignations in lieu of discipline in five cases, a suspension in one case, and interlocutory orders of suspension in five cases. CDC obtained judgments ordering reciprocal discipline in 11 cases, including two disbarments, five active suspensions, and four fully probated suspensions.