Oklahoma Bar Association

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Annual Reports of the Professional Responsibility Commission and the Professional Responsibility Tribunal

The annual reports can be downloaded in PDF format for the following years:

About the Professional Responsibility Commission

The Professional Responsibility Commission was created by the Supreme Court on October 3, 1977. The Professional Responsibility Commission exists in its present form by virtue of Rule 2, Rules Governing Disciplinary Proceedings (RGDP), 5 O.S., ch. 1, app. 1-A, effective July 1, 1981. The Professional Responsibility Commission consists of seven members, five of whom must be lawyers who are active members in good standing of the Oklahoma Bar Association, and two of whom must be non-lawyers.

The lawyer members are appointed by the President of the Oklahoma Bar Association subject to the approval of the Board of Governors. The non-lawyers must reside in different congressional districts, one to be appointed by the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and the other to be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate. The members are appointed on rotating terms of three years expiring on December 31 of the given year.

The Professional Responsibility Commission is charged with the duty of considering and investigating any alleged ground for professional discipline or alleged incapacity of any lawyer called to its attention, or upon its own motion, and to take such action with respect thereto as shall be appropriate to effectuate the purposes of the Rule Governing Disciplinary Proceedings. In the course of its investigations, the Professional Responsibility Commission may hold hearings, administer oaths or affirmations, receive testimony and other evidence, and issue and serve or cause to be served subpoenas requiring testimony or the production of books, records, papers, documents or other tangible evidence. The Professional Responsibility Commission may take action with regard to a formal grievance upon conclusion of a complete investigation, in the following manner: it may recommend that a formal complaint be filed with the Supreme Court asking that the attorney be disbarred or suspended, or otherwise disciplined; it may dismiss the matter entirely; or it may administer an admonition or a reprimand to the Respondent.

 

About the Professional Responsibility Tribunal

The Professional Responsibility Tribunal was created by Rule 4, Rules Governing Disciplinary Proceedings, 5 O.S., ch. 1, app. 1‑A, effective July 1, 1981, as a panel of Masters whose function is to conduct hearings on formal complaints filed against lawyers and on applications for reinstatement to the practice of law in the State of Oklahoma.

The Tribunal consists of 21 members, 14 of whom must be active members in good standing of the Oklahoma Bar Association, and seven of whom must be non‑lawyers. The lawyer members are appointed by the President of the Oklahoma Bar Association subject to the approval of the Board of Governors. The non‑lawyer members are appointed by the Governor of the State of Oklahoma. The members are appointed on rotating terms of three years expiring on June 30 of the given year. The Tribunal holds an annual organization meeting and elects a Chief Master and Vice‑Chief Master to serve for a one year term. All masters serve without compensation except for reimbursement for travel and other incidental expenditures incurred in connection with the performance of their duties.

Upon the initiation of a formal complaint against a lawyer, the Chief Master must select three Masters to serve as a trial panel. Each panel must consist of two lawyers and one non‑lawyer. One of the two lawyer members of the trial panel must be designated as the Presiding Master. Two of the three Masters constitute a quorum for the purposes of conducting hearings, ruling on and receiving evidence, and rendering findings of fact and conclusions of law. The Trial Panel has authority to conduct its proceedings, as far as practicable, in accordance with the rules governing other civil proceedings. Within 30 days of the conclusion of any proceeding, it is the duty of the Trial Panel to file with the Clerk of the Supreme Court a written report containing findings of fact and conclusions of law including a recommendation to the Supreme Court as to discipline to be imposed, if appropriate.