RULE 1:20-21 - Reinstatement After Final Discipline

RULE 1:20-21 - Reinstatement After Final Discipline

(a) Definite Suspension of More Than Six Months and Indefinite Suspensions. After the expiration of a definite suspension of more than six months or at any time after an indefinite suspension has been ordered, an attorney may file a verified petition for reinstatement with the Disciplinary Review Board pursuant to this rule.

(b) Definite Suspension of Six Months or Less. A lawyer who has been suspended for a definite period of six months or less may file a petition for reinstatement and publish notice of reinstatement forty days prior to the expiration of the period of suspension. All other procedures specified by this rule shall apply, except that the petition need not contain responses to paragraphs (f)(6), and (f)(8) to (f)(10), inclusive.

(c) Filing and Service of Petition. The petitioner shall file an original and 12 copies of the verified petition with the Board and shall serve two copies on the Director.

(d) Costs. Petitions for reinstatement shall be accompanied by a non-refundable check payable to the Disciplinary Oversight Committee in the amount of $750 to cover the reasonable administrative costs of processing the petition. Either the Board or the Court may also direct the petitioner to pay such additional sum during the processing of a petition as it deems appropriate to meet the cost of actual out-of-pocket expenses, including, but not limited to, medical or psychiatric examinations, transcripts and other investigatory and review expenses deemed necessary to a proper evaluation of the reinstatement petition.

(e) Publication of Notice. Contemporaneously with the filing of the petition for reinstatement, or within twenty-one days prior thereto, the petitioner shall publish a notice of application for reinstatement in bold-faced type in all official newspapers designated by the Supreme Court and in a newspaper of general circulation in each county in which the respondent last maintained a law office and in the county in which respondent resided at the time of the imposition of discipline. Publication of a notice shall be sufficient if in the following language: NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC. John Doe, who was admitted to the bar of the State of New Jersey on __________, 20__ and who was thereafter suspended from the practice of law by the Supreme Court, is applying to be reinstated to the practice. Objections or relevant information concerning this application for reinstatement should be forwarded immediately to Chief Counsel, Disciplinary Review Board, P.O. Box 962, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0962.

(f) Contents of Petition. The petitioner shall provide a certified petition for reinstatement setting forth all material facts on which the petitioner relies to establish fitness to resume the practice of law. The petition shall in the discretion of the Board considering the nature of the disciplinary offense contain, in correlatively numbered paragraphs, the following information:

(1) the name of the petitioner and a copy of a current photograph of petitioner, not smaller than three inches by three inches showing front and side views;

(2) the date on which the suspension was imposed and the citation of the reported opinion, if any;

(3) the age, current residence address and telephone number of the petitioner, the address of all residences maintained during the suspension period and the date of each residence;

(4) the nature of petitioner's occupation during the suspension, including the name and address of each employer, the dates of each employment, the positions occupied and titles held, the name, address and telephone of the immediate supervisor, and the reason for leaving the employment;

(5) the case caption, general nature, dates and disposition of every civil, criminal, administrative or disciplinary action which was pending during the period of suspension to which petitioner was either a party or claimed an interest;

(6) petitioner's written consent to the Board and to the Director to examine and secure copies of any records relating to any criminal investigation of or action against petitioner;

(7) a statement of the monthly earnings and other income of the petitioner and the sources from which all earnings and income were derived during the period of suspension;

(8) a statement of assets and financial obligations of the petitioner as of the date of the original suspension and at the time of the reinstatement application, the dates when acquired or incurred, and the names and addresses of all creditors;

(9) the names and addresses of all financial institutions at which petitioner had, or was signatory to, accounts, safety deposit boxes, deposits or loans during the period of suspension, the number of each account, box, deposit or loan; the date each account, box, deposit or loan was opened, approved or made; and the date each account, box, deposit or loan was closed, discharged or paid;

(10) copies of petitioner's federal and state income tax returns and any business tax returns for each of the three years immediately preceding the date the petition is filed and for each year, or part of a year, during the period of suspension and, in an appropriate form, petitioner's written consent to the Board and the Director to secure copies of the original returns;

(11) a statement of restitution made for any and all obligations to all former clients and the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection and the source and amount of funds used for this purpose;

(12) whether the petitioner, during the period of suspension, sought or obtained assistance, consultation or treatment, whether as an in- or out-patient, for a mental or emotional disorder or for addiction to drugs or alcohol, if such services relate to the disciplinary offenses or the Board determines that such information is relevant to the petitioner's present ability to practice law. The name, address and telephone of each provider of these services, the services rendered, their duration and purpose and a copy of all medical records shall be provided to the Board;

(13) whether the petitioner, during the period of suspension, applied for admission or reinstatement to practice as an attorney in this state or any other state and the caption and details of the application;

(14) whether the petitioner has ever applied for or been granted a license or certificate relating to any business or occupation and whether that license or certificate has ever been the subject of any disciplinary action and the details thereof;

(15) a statement as to whether or not any applications were made during the period of suspension for a license requiring proof of good character, the dates, name, address and telephone of the authority to whom such applications were addressed and the disposition thereof;

(16) whether petitioner, during the period of suspension, engaged in the practice of law in any jurisdiction and all material facts relating thereto;

(17) a statement of any procedure or inquiry during the period of suspension, relating to petitioner's standing as a member of any other profession or organization, or holder of any license or office, which involved the censure, removal, suspension, revocation of license, or discipline of petitioner, and, as to each, the dates, facts, and the disposition thereof and the name, address and telephone of the authority in possession of the record thereof;

(18) a written representation of petitioner's intentions concerning the practice of law, if reinstated;

(19) a newly completed Annual Attorney Registration Statement;

(20) a copy of the detailed affidavit required to be filed in accordance with Rule 1:20-20;

(21) such other information as the Director, the Board or the Supreme Court may from time to time require.


(g) Objections by Director; Recommendation by the Board. Within 21 days following receipt of the petition or 14 days if the period of suspension was six months or less, the Director shall file an original and 12 copies of a response with the Board either objecting or not objecting to the petition. The Director shall serve the respondent with a copy of the response. If the Director consents or fails to file objections, the Board may submit its findings and recommendations to the Supreme Court. If the Director files objections, the Board may set the matter down for oral argument on notice to the parties or may, after considering the objections, submit its findings and recommendations as to the attorney's fitness to practice law to the Supreme Court without argument. The Board may recommend and the Court may impose conditions on the attorney's reinstatement deemed necessary to protect the lawyer, clients or the public.

(h) Referral to Trier of Fact. In an appropriate case, the Board may refer specific issues regarding reinstatement to a trier of fact, which shall then hold a hearing and furnish the Board with a report of findings and recommendations.

(i) Consideration of Petition for Reinstatement. No petition for reinstatement shall be considered by the Board unless:

(A) the respondent first affirmatively demonstrates full and timely compliance with Rule 1:20-20. If compliance has not occurred, and if the required affidavit of compliance has not been timely filed, the Board shall not consider the petition until the expiration of six months from the date of filing of that proof of compliance.

(B) all disciplinary costs assessed have been paid, unless an extraordinary financial hardship claim has been timely requested and granted and unless respondent is current in the schedule of payments thereunder;

(C) all orders for restitution have been paid;

(D) the respondent has reimbursed or has reached agreement in writing with the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection to reimburse it in full for all sums paid or authorized to be paid as a result of the respondent's conduct;

(E) all annual registration fees and charges for ethics and the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection have been paid.


(j) Successive Petitions. Except as otherwise ordered by the Supreme Court, a petitioner may not file a subsequent petition for reinstatement until six months after the Supreme Court has adversely decided the prior petition.

(k) Public Proceedings and Records. All reinstatement records and proceedings shall be considered public in accordance with Rule 1:20-9.

(l) Standard of Proof. The standard of proof in reinstatement proceedings shall be by clear and convincing evidence.

(m) Burden of Proof; Burden of Going Forward. The burden of proof in proceedings seeking reinstatement shall be on the petitioner.


Note: Adopted January 31, 1995 to be effective March 1, 1995; paragraph (e) amended July 12, 2002 to be effective September 3, 2002; paragraphs (c), (d), (e), (f), (g), (h), and (i) amended and new paragraphs (l) and (m) adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004.