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Hal R. LiebermanHal R. Lieberman (NYLJ/Rick Kopstein)

On March 30, 2015, Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced the formation of a Commission on Statewide Attorney Discipline, to be made up of leaders from New York’s bench and bar (the author was on the commission). The stated mission was to “conduct a comprehensive review of [New York's] attorney disciplinary system to determine what is working well and what can work better, and to offer recommendations to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of New York’s attorney discipline process.”

This article focuses on the recommendations in the commission’s report, released on Sept. 23, 2015.1 The report principally addresses three major areas of concern with regard to the structure and functioning of the current disciplinary system: (1) uniformity and fairness; (2) efficiency; (3) transparency and access. Accordingly, the commission established three working groups to study these areas of concern and make recommendations with an eye to reform. This column only discusses “uniformity and fairness.” A future column will consider the commission’s recommendations with respect to the other areas of concern.

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