Rule 11-561. Accessing disciplinary information.
(a) Confidentiality.Before the OPC initiates an Action or publishes notice of a public reprimand,OPC Counsel, OPC staff, the Committee, Committee volunteers, Committee staff,Committee employees, special counsel appointed pursuant to Rule 11-542, andspecial counsel employees or assistants, must keep the proceeding confidential,but the OPC may disclose the pendency, subject matter, and status of aninvestigation if the proceeding is based on allegations disseminated throughthe mass media, or include either the conviction of a crime or reciprocalpublic discipline. The proceeding is not confidential to the extent:
(1) the Respondent has given an expresswritten waiver of confidentiality;
(2) there is a need tonotify another person or organization?including the Bar?s Lawyer?s Fund forClient Protection or Licensed Paralegal Practitioners? Fund for ClientProtection?to protect the public, the administration of justice, or the legalprofession;
(3) the information is required in a subsequent Lawyer sanctionshearing; or
(4) a referral is made tothe Professionalism and Civility Counseling Board, in which event OPC Counsel,Committee members, screening panel members, and Professionalism and CivilityCounseling Board members may share all information between and among them withthe expectation that such information will in all other respects be subject toapplicable confidentiality rules or exceptions.
(b) Public proceedings.Upon filing an Action or a petition for reinstatement or relicensure,the proceedings are public, except as provided in paragraph (d) below.
(c) Proceedings allegingdisability. Proceedings for transfer to or from disability status areconfidential. All orders transferring a Respondent to or from disability statusare public.
(d) Protective order.To protect the interest of a Complainant, witness, third party, or Respondent,the district court may, on any person?s request and for good cause, issue aprotective order prohibiting the disclosure of specific information and directthat the proceedings be conducted so as to implement the order, includingrequiring that the hearing be conducted in such a way as to preserve theconfidentiality of the information that is the subject of the application.
(e) Request for nonpublicinformation. Nonpublic information is confidential, other than asauthorized for disclosure under paragraph (a), unless the request forinformation is approved by the OPC and the requestor complies with paragraphs(f) and (g).
(f) Notice to theRespondent. Except as provided in paragraph (g), if the Committee decidesto provide nonpublic information requested pursuant to paragraph (e), and ifthe Respondent has not signed an express written waiver permitting the partyrequesting the information to obtain the nonpublic information, the Respondentmust be notified in writing at the Respondent?s mailing address as shown by Barrecords of the information that has been requested and by whom, together with acopy of the information proposed to be released. The notice must advise theRespondent that the information will be released 21 days after the notice?smailing unless the Respondent objects to the disclosure. If the Respondenttimely objects to the disclosure, the information must remain confidentialunless the requesting party obtains a court order authorizing its release.
(g) Release without notice.If a requesting party as outlined in paragraph (e) has not obtained an expresswritten waiver from the Respondent to obtain nonpublic information, andrequests that the information be released without giving notice to theRespondent, the requesting party must certify that:
(1) the request willfurther an ongoing investigation into the Respondent?s misconduct;
(2) the information is essential to that investigation; and
(3) disclosing theexistence of the investigation to the Respondent would seriously prejudice thatinvestigation.
(h) Disclosure withoutnotice. The OPC may disclosenonpublic information without notice to the Respondent if:
(1) disclosure furthers anongoing OPC investigation into the Respondent?s misconduct; and
(2) disclosure is essentialto that investigation.
(i) Participants? duty. OPCCounsel, OPC staff, the Committee, Committee volunteers, Committee staff,Committee employees, special counsel appointed pursuant to Rule 11-542, andspecial counsel employees or assistants in a proceeding under these rules mustmaintain confidentiality. Unless otherwise authorized, persons receivingprivate records under paragraph (e) will not provide access to the records toanyone else.
EffectiveDecember 15, 2020