RULE 2.4. DISTRICT INQUIRY COMMITTEES.
A. Disciplinary Districts. The state is divided into disciplinary districts:
(1) Southeastern District. The Southeastern District includes the following counties: Barnes, Cass, Dickey, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McIntosh, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, and Stutsman.
(2) Northeastern District. The Northeastern District includes the following counties: Benson, Cavalier, Eddy, Foster, Grand Forks, Griggs, Nelson, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Rolette, Steele, Towner, Traill, Walsh, and Wells.
(3) Western District. The Western District includes the following counties: Adams, Billings, Bottineau, Bowman, Burleigh, Burke, Divide, Dunn, Emmons, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, McHenry, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Oliver, Renville, Sheridan, Sioux, Slope, Stark, Ward, and Williams.
B. Appointment - Special Members. The association president shall appoint a nine-member district inquiry committee, consisting of six lawyers and three public members, within each disciplinarydistrict. Upon the request of an inquiry committee chair, the association president may appoint not more than three special members to an inquiry committee for purposes of conducting investigations of complaints and preparing and presenting investigative reports. A special member need not be a resident of or practice law in the disciplinary district for the inquiry committee to which the member is appointed. A special member is appointed for a term of three months but, the association president may extend the term for up to an additional nine months. A special member may not vote on the disposition of a complaint under section E(3).
C. Terms of Office. All terms are for three years and a member of a district inquiry committee may not serve for more than two consecutive three-year terms. Terms must be staggered so that no more than two lawyer members and one public member are appointed for full three-year terms in any one year. A member who has served two consecutive three-year terms may not be reappointed before the expiration of at least one year.
D. Chair. At the first meeting of each district inquiry committee in each calendar year, the members of the committee shall elect a chair who shall preside at all meetings, perform the usual duties of a chair, and be responsible for preparation of a report of the meeting to file with the board. A vice-chair shall be similarly elected to act in the absence of the chair.
E. Powers and Duties. Each district inquiry committee shall:
(1) Through members designated by its chair or by using the services of counsel, investigate all information about a lawyer which, if true, would be grounds for discipline or transfer to disability inactive or incapacitated status, and provide a report of the investigation to counsel for distribution to the district inquiry committee;
(2) Review investigative reports and recommendations;
(3) Act on each complaint by dismissal, by approval of diversion from discipline, by issuance of an admonition or consent probation or both, by directing participation in a lawyer assistance program in conjunction with an admonition or consent probation, or by directing counsel to file a petition with the board initiating formal disciplinary or disability proceedings;
(4) Dismiss a complaint after a lawyer's completion of all conditions of diversion from discipline; and
(5) Discontinue diversion from discipline if a lawyer does not complete all conditions of that diversion.
F. Failure to complete reports or investigation. Failure of the investigator designated under section E(1) to complete reports in a timely fashion may result in reassignment of the investigation and removal, unless counsel is the investigator, of the investigator from the district inquiry committee by the association president. Failure of an investigator to timely complete an investigation under Rule 3.1D does not prejudice the complaint.
G. Compensation. All expenses of the district inquiry committees incurred in connection with the enforcement of these rules must be paid from association funds.
[Adopted effective January 1, 1995; amended on an emergency basis effective may 28, 1997 (See Order in Sup.Ct. No. 970152); amended on an emergency basis effective July 16, 1998; Adopted on a final basis effective September 8, 1998.]
[Amended effective August 1, 2004. Amended effective July 1, 1999. Adopted effective January 1, 1995.]