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Title 204—JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART V. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CONDUCT

[ 204 PA. CODE CH. 93 ]

Amendments to Rules of Organization and Procedure of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania; Order No. 79

[46 Pa.B. 6814]
[Saturday, October 29, 2016]

 By this Order, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is amending its Rules of Organization and Procedure to modify Rules §§ 93.141 et. seq. to permit the annual registration of attorneys by electronic means.

 The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania finds that:

 (1) To the extent that 42 Pa.C.S. § 1702 (relating to rule making procedures) and Article II of the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L. 769, No. 240), known as the Commonwealth Documents Law, would otherwise require notice of proposed rulemaking with respect to the amendments adopted hereby, those proposed rulemaking procedures are inapplicable because the amendments adopted hereby relate to agency procedure and are perfunctory in nature.

 (2) The amendments to the Rules of Organization and Procedure of the Board adopted hereby are not inconsistent with the Pennsylvania Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement and are necessary and appropriate for the administration of the affairs of the Board.

 The Board, acting pursuant to Pa.R.D.E. 205(c)(10), orders:

 (1) Title 204 of the Pennsylvania Code is hereby amended as set forth in Annex A hereto.

 (2) The Secretary of the Board shall duly certify this Order, and deposit the same with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts as required by Pa.R.J.A. 103(c).

 (3) The amendments adopted hereby shall take effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 (4) The amendments adopted hereby shall take effect 30 days after publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

By the Disciplinary Board of the
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

JULIA FRANKSTON-MORRIS, 
Secretary

Annex A

TITLE 204. JUDICIAL SYSTEM GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART V. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS AND CONDUCT

Subpart C. DISCIPLINARY BOARD OF THE SUPREME COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

CHAPTER 93. ORGANIZATION AND ADMINISTRATION

Subchapter G. FINANCIAL MATTERS

ANNUAL REGISTRATION OF ATTORNEYS

§ 93.141. Annual registration.

 (a) General rule. Enforcement Rule 219(a) provides that every attorney admitted to practice law in this Commonwealth shall pay an annual fee of [$130.00] $125.00 and electronically file the annual fee form provided for under such rule by July 1; that the fee shall be collected under the supervision of the Attorney Registration Office, which shall [send or cause to be sent to every attorney, except an attorney who has elected to file the form electronically, the annual fee form; that the Attorney Registration Office shall transmit to those attorneys who have elected to file the form electronically a notice by e-mail to register by July 1; that failure to receive the annual fee form by mail or electronically shall not excuse payment of the fee; and that the] make the annual fee form available for filing through a link on the Board's website (http://www.padisciplinaryboard.org) or directly at https://ujsportal.pacourts.us. The fee shall be used to defray the costs of disciplinary administration and enforcement under the Enforcement Rules, and for such other purposes as the Board shall, with the approval of the Supreme Court, from time to time determine. Upon an attorney's written request submitted to the Attorney Registration Office and for good cause shown, the Attorney Registration Office shall grant an exemption from the electronic filing requirement and permit the attorney to file the annual fee form in paper form.

Official Note: Pa.R.P.C. 1.15(u) imposes an additional annual fee for use by the IOLTA Board, and Pa.R.D.E. 502(b) imposes an additional annual fee for use by the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security.

 (b) Inapplicable to justices and judges. Enforcement Rule 219(b) provides that the following shall be exempt from the annual fee:

*  *  *  *  *

§ 93.142. Filing of annual fee form by attorneys.

 (a) Transmission of form. Enforcement Rule 219(c) provides that on or before May 15 of each year the Attorney Registration Office shall transmit to all attorneys required by the rule to pay an annual fee[, except those attorneys who have elected electronic filing, a form required by subsection (b) of this section; and that on or before May 15 of each year subsequent to the year in which an attorney elects electronic filing, the Attorney Registration Office shall transmit to such attorney] a notice by e-mail to register electronically by July 1. Failure to receive notice shall not excuse the filing of the annual fee form or payment of the annual fee.

 (b) Filing of annual fee form. Enforcement Rule 219(d) provides that on or before July 1 of each year all attorneys required by the rule to pay an annual fee shall electronically file with the Attorney Registration Office [a signed or] an electronically endorsed form prescribed by the Attorney Registration Office in accordance with the following procedures:

 (1) The form shall set forth:

 (i) The date on which the attorney was admitted to practice, licensed as foreign legal consultant, granted limited admission as an attorney participant in defender and legal services programs pursuant to Pa.B.A.R. 311, or issued a Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License, and a list of all courts (except courts of this Commonwealth) and jurisdictions in which the person has ever been license' to practice law, with the current status thereof.

 (ii) The current email, residence and office addresses of the attorney, [each] the latter two of which shall be an actual street address or rural route box number[, and the]. The Attorney Registration Office shall refuse to accept a form that sets forth only a post office box number for either required address. A preferred mailing address different from those addresses may also be provided on the form and may be a post office box number. The attorney shall indicate which of the addresses, the residence, office or mailing address, as well as telephone and fax number will be accessible through the website of the Board (http://www.padisciplinaryboard.org/) and by written or oral request to the Board. Upon an attorney's written request submitted to the Attorney Registration Office and for good cause shown, the contact information provided by the attorney will be nonpublic information and will not be published on the Board's website or otherwise disclosed.

Official Note: The Note to Enforcement Rule 219(d)(1)(ii) explains that public web docket sheets will show the attorney's address as entered on the court docket.

 (iii) The name of each Financial Institution, as defined in § 91.171 (Definitions), within or outside this Commonwealth in which the attorney [on May 1 of the current year or at any time during the preceding 12 months], from May 1 of the previous year to the date of the filing of the annual fee form, held funds of a client or a third person subject to Rule 1.15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct. The form shall include the name and account number for each account in which the attorney held such funds, and each IOLTA Account shall be identified as such. The form provided to a person holding a Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License or a Foreign Legal Consultant License need not request the information required by this subparagraph.

For purposes of this subparagraph, the phrase ''funds of a client or a third person subject to Rule 1.15 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct'' means funds that belong to a client or third person and that an attorney receives:

(A) in connection with a client-lawyer relationship;

(B) as an escrow agent, settlement agent, representative payee, personal representative, guardian, conservator, receiver, trustee, agent under a durable power of attorney, or other similar fiduciary position;

(C) as an agent, having been designated as such by a client or having been so selected as a result of a client-lawyer relationship or the lawyer's status as such;

(D) in connection with nonlegal services that are not distinct from legal services;

(E) in connection with nonlegal services that are distinct from legal services, and the attorney knows or reasonably should know that the recipient of the service might believe that the recipient is receiving the protection of a client-lawyer relationship; or

(F) as an owner, controlling party, employee, agent, or as one who is otherwise affiliated with an entity providing nonlegal services and the attorney knows or reasonably should know that the recipient of the service might believe that the recipient is receiving the protection of a client-lawyer relationship.

Official Note: For purposes of subparagraph (iii), ''funds of a third person'' shall not include funds held in: 1) an attorney's personal account held jointly; or 2) a custodial account for a minor or dependent relative unless the source of any account funds is other than the attorney and his or her spouse.

 If an attorney employed by a law firm receives fiduciary funds from or on behalf of a client and deposits or causes the funds to be deposited into a law firm account, the attorney must report the account of deposit under this subparagraph.

 (iv) Every account not reported under subparagraph (iii), that held funds of a client or a third [party] person, and over which the attorney had sole or shared signature authority or authorization to transfer funds to or from the account, during the same time period specified in subparagraph (iii). For each account, the attorney shall provide the name of the financial institution (whether or not the entity qualifies as a ''Financial Institution'' under RPC 1.15(a)(4)), location, and account number.

Official Note: Regarding ''funds of a third person,'' see Note to § 93.142(b)(1)(iii).

 (v) Every business operating account maintained or utilized by the attorney in the practice of law during the same time period specified in subparagraph (iii). For each account, the attorney shall provide the name of the financial institution, location and account number.

 (vi) A certification reading as follows: ''I certify that all Trust Accounts that I maintain are in financial institutions approved by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania for the maintenance of such accounts pursuant to Pennsylvania Rule of Disciplinary Enforcement 221 (relating to mandatory overdraft notification) and that each Trust Account has been identified as such to the financial institution in which it is maintained.''

 (vii) A statement that any action brought against the attorney by the Pennsylvania Lawyers Fund for Client Security for the recovery of monies paid by the Fund as a result of claims against the attorney may be brought in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny, Dauphin or Philadelphia County.

 (viii) Whether the attorney is covered by professional liability insurance on the date of registration in the minimum amounts required by Rule of Professional Conduct 1.4(c). Rule 1.4(c) does not apply to attorneys who do not have any private clients, such as attorneys in full-time government practice or employed as in-house corporate counsel.

Official Note: The Disciplinary Board will make the information regarding insurance available to the public upon written or oral request and on its website. The requirement of Rule 219(d)(3) that every attorney who has filed an annual fee form [or elects to file the form electronically must notify] must give written notice to the Attorney Registration Office of any change in the information previously submitted within 30 days after such change will apply to the information regarding insurance.

 (ix) Such other information as the Attorney Registration Office may from time to time direct.

 (2) Payment of the annual fee shall [accompany the form] be made in one of two ways: a) electronically by credit or debit card at the time of electronic transmission of the form through the online system of the Attorney Registration Office, which payment shall include a nominal fee to process the electronic payment; or b) by check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank, in U.S. dollars using a printable, mail-in voucher. IOLTA, trust, escrow and other fiduciary account checks tendered in payment of the annual fee will not be accepted. If the [form and payment are] annual fee form, voucher or payment is incomplete or if a check in payment of the annual fee has been returned to the Board unpaid, the annual fee shall not be deemed to have been paid until a collection fee, and one or both of the late payment penalties prescribed in § 93.144(a)(1) and (2) of these rules if assessed, shall also have been paid. The amount of the collection fee shall be established by the Board annually after giving due regard to the direct and indirect costs incurred by the Board during the preceding year for checks returned to the Board unpaid. On or before July 1 of each year the Office of the Secretary shall publish in the Pennsylvania Bulletin a notice of the collection fee established by the Board for the coming registration year.

 (3) Every attorney who has filed the form [or elects to file the form electronically] shall notify the Attorney Registration Office in writing of any change in the information previously submitted, including e-mail address, within 30 days after such change, which notice shall be sent by mail or facsimile transmission, provided, however, that any change in the information required by Enforcement Rule 219(d)(1)(iii), (iv) and (v) (collectively relating to financial account information) that occurs after the filing of the form required by Enforcement Rule 219(a) and (d)(1) need only be reported on the next regular annual fee form due July 1. Failure to timely register and file the next annual fee form shall not excuse the requirement of reporting changes in financial account information on an annual basis on or before July 1, and failure to make such a report shall constitute a violation of Enforcement Rule 219.

 (4) Upon original admission to the bar of this Commonwealth, licensure as a Foreign Legal Consultant, issuance of a Limited In-House Corporate Counsel License, or limited admission as an attorney participant in defender and legal services programs pursuant to Pa.B.A.R. 311, a person shall concurrently file a form under this section for the current registration year, but no annual fee shall be payable for the registration year in which originally admitted or licensed.

(5) Submission of the annual fee form through electronic means signifies the attorney's intent to sign the form. By submitting the form electronically, the attorney certifies that the electronic filing is true and correct.

§ 93.145. Reinstatement of administratively suspended attorneys.

 (a) General rule. An attorney who has been administratively suspended pursuant to § 93.144(b) of these rules for three years or less is not eligible to file the annual fee form electronically. Enforcement Rule 219(h) provides that the procedure for reinstatement [of an attorney who has been administratively suspended pursuant to § 93.144(b) of these rules for three years or less] is as follows:

*  *  *  *  *

 (2) Upon receipt of the annual fee form, a verified statement showing compliance with Enforcement Rule 217 (relating to formerly admitted attorneys), and the payments required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the Attorney Registration Office shall so certify to the [Board] Office of the Secretary and to the Supreme Court; and that unless the formerly admitted attorney is subject to another outstanding order of suspension or disbarment or the order has been in effect for more than three years, the filing of the certification from the Attorney Registration Office with the Prothonotary of the Supreme Court shall operate as an order reinstating the person to active status.

*  *  *  *  *

§ 93.146. Selection of retired or inactive status and resumption of active status.

 (a) Retired Status[:]. Enforcement Rule 219(i) provides that:

 (1) An attorney who has retired [shall file with] must file by mail or deliver in person to the Attorney Registration Office Form DB-27 (Application for Retirement) and payment of any applicable late fees or penalties pursuant to Enforcement Rule 219(f).

 (2) Upon the transmission of the application from the Attorney Registration Office to the Supreme Court, the Court shall enter an order transferring the attorney to retired status, and the attorney shall no longer be eligible to practice law.

 (3) The retired attorney will be relieved from [the] payment of the annual fee specified in § 93.141 (relating to annual registration).

 (4) Chapter 91 Subchapter E (relating to formerly admitted attorneys) shall not be applicable to the formerly admitted attorney unless ordered by the Supreme Court in connection with the entry of an order of suspension or disbarment under another provision of the Enforcement Rules.

 (5) An attorney on retired status for three years or less may be reinstated in the same manner as an inactive attorney, by filing a Form DB-29 (Application for Resumption of Active Status), except that the retired attorney shall pay the annual active fee for the three most recent years or such shorter period in which the attorney was on retired status instead of the amounts required to be paid by an inactive attorney seeking reinstatement.

 (6) The Chief Justice may delegate the processing and entry of orders under this subsection to the Prothonotary.

 (b) Inactive Status. Enforcement Rule 219(j) provides that:

 (1) An attorney who is not engaged in practice in Pennsylvania, has sold his or her practice pursuant to Rule 1.17 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, or is not required by virtue of his or her practice elsewhere to maintain active licensure in the Commonwealth may request inactive status or continue that status once assumed. The attorney shall file either the annual form required by § 93.142(b) and request inactive status or file Form DB-28 (Notice of Voluntary Assumption of Inactive Status). The attorney shall be removed from the roll of those classified as active until and unless such inactive attorney makes a request under paragraph (3) of this section for an administrative return to active status and satisfies all conditions precedent to the grant of such request; or files a petition for reinstatement under § 89.273(b) (relating to procedure for reinstatement of an attorney who has been on inactive status for more than three years, or who is on inactive status and had not been on active status at any time within the prior three years) and is granted reinstatement pursuant to the provisions of § 89.273(b) of these rules.

 (2) An inactive attorney under this subsection (b) shall continue to file the annual form required by § 93.142(b), and shall file the form through the online system identified in § 93.141(a) and shall pay an annual fee of $70.00 in the manner provided in § 93.142(b)(2). Noncompliance with this provision will result in the inactive attorney incurring late payment [penalites] penalties, incurring a collection fee for any check in payment that has been returned to the Board unpaid, and being placed on administrative suspension in accordance with the provisions of § 93.144.

 (3) Administrative Change in Status from Inactive Status to Active Status: An attorney on inactive status may request a resumption of active status by filing Form DB-29 (Application for Resumption of Active Status) with the Attorney Registration Office. The form must be filed by mail or delivered in person to the Attorney Registration Office. Resumption of active status shall be granted unless the inactive attorney is subject to an outstanding order of suspension or disbarment, unless the inactive attorney has sold his or her practice pursuant to Rule 1.17 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct (see § 89.273(b)), unless the inactive status has been in effect for more than three years, or unless the inactive attorney had not been on active status at any time within the preceding three years (see § 89.273(b)), upon the payment of:

*  *  *  *  *

§ 93.148. Administrative change in status from administrative suspension to inactive status.

 (a) Enforcement Rule 219(k) provides that an inactive attorney who has been administratively suspended for failure to file the annual form and pay the annual fee required by § 93.146(b)(2) of these rules, may request an administrative change in status [to inactive status] form from the Attorney Registration Office. The [Attorney Registration Office] form must be filed by mail or delivered in person to the Attorney Registration Office and said Office shall change the status of an attorney eligible for inactive status under this subsection (a) upon receipt of:

*  *  *  *  *

§ 93.149. [(Reserved).] Former or retired justice or judge and resumption of active status.

(a) Rule 219(n) provides that a former or retired justice or judge who is not the subject of an outstanding order of discipline affecting his or her right to practice law and who wishes to resume the practice of law shall file with the Attorney Registration Office a notice in writing. The notice shall:

(1) describe:

(i) any discipline imposed within six years before the date of the notice upon the justice or judge by the Court of Judicial Discipline;

(ii) any proceeding before the Judicial Conduct Board or the Court of Judicial Discipline settled within six years before the date of the notice on the condition that the justice or judge resign from judicial office or enter a rehabilitation program; and

(2) include a waiver available through the Attorney Registration Office and signed by the justice or judge, if the notice discloses a proceeding described in subsection (1), of the confidentiality of the record in that proceeding for the limited purpose of making the record available to the Board in any subsequent proceeding under these rules.

An annual fee form will be provided by the Attorney Registration Office. The form must be filed by mail or delivered in person to said Office and be accompanied by payment of the full annual fee for the assessment year in which the notice is filed.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 16-1849. Filed for public inspection October 28, 2016, 9:00 a.m.]



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