7.3 Disciplinary Proceedings: Other Provisions
(1) Complainants and Witnesses. In the absence of malice, the complainant and any witness shall be immune from liability based upon the filing of a complaint or the giving of any testimony in a proceeding hereunder.
(2) Members of the Board, Commission, etc. [Deleted effective January 1, 1995.]
(b) Refusal of Complainant to Proceed; Compromise; Restitution. Abatement of an investigation or related proceedings shall not be required by the failure of the complainant to sign a complaint or to testify, or by any settlement, compromise or restitution.
(c) Pending Civil or Criminal Litigation.
(1) The investigation or prosecution of complaints involving material allegations which are substantially similar to the material allegations of pending criminal or civil litigation shall not be deferred unless the Board or the Court shall order such deferment as to which either the Court or the Board may impose conditions.
(2) The acquittal of the respondent attorney on criminal charges, or a verdict or judgment in the respondent attorney's favor in a civil litigation involving substantially similar material allegations, shall not require abatement of a disciplinary investigation or proceeding predicated upon the same material allegations.
(d) Conviction of Crimes.
(1) Upon the filing with the Court by Bar Counsel of a certificate of the clerk of any court establishing that an attorney has been convicted of a crime demonstrating unfitness to engage in the practice of law, whether the conviction resulted from a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or from a verdict after trial or otherwise, the Court shall, if satisfied that the crime demonstrates unfitness to practice law, enter an order to show cause why the attorney should not be immediately suspended from the practice of law, regardless of the pendency of an appeal of the conviction, pending final disposition of any disciplinary proceeding commenced upon such conviction. The Court, after affording the attorney opportunity to be heard, may make such order of suspension as may be advisable in the interest of the public, the Bar and the Court.
(2) A certificate of final judgment of conviction of any attorney for any crime shall be conclusive evidence of the commission of that crime in any disciplinary proceeding based upon the conviction subject to the provisions of paragraph (5) below.
(3) Upon the receipt of a certificate of conviction of an attorney for a crime covered by (1) above, Bar Counsel, in addition to any suspension of the attorney imposed by the Court, shall institute formal proceedings before a panel of the Grievance Commission, or, with the consent of the Chair or Vice Chair of the Grievance Commission, may, in lieu of a proceeding before the panel, commence a disciplinary action before the Court pursuant to Rule 7.2(b). A disciplinary proceeding so instituted need not be brought to hearing until all appeals from the conviction are concluded.
(4) Upon receipt of a certificate of a final judgment of conviction of an attorney for a crime not included within (1) above, the Court may refer the matter to the Board to take appropriate action, which may include investigation by Bar Counsel or a proceeding before the Grievance Commission.
(5) An attorney suspended hereunder will be reinstated immediately upon the filing of a certificate that the underlying conviction for a crime has been reversed or set aside, but the reinstatement need not terminate any formal proceeding then pending against the attorney.
(6) It is the duty of an attorney admitted to practice in this State who is convicted in any court of any crime to notify Bar Counsel in writing within 30 days of the entry of the judgment of conviction. Such notification shall include a certificate from the respective court clerk establishing the conviction, and shall be required regardless of the pendency of an appeal or other post-conviction proceeding.
(7) Upon being advised that an attorney has been convicted of a crime covered by paragraph (1) above within this State and that no certificate has been filed under paragraph (6) above, or of such a crime in another jurisdiction, Bar Counsel shall obtain a certificate of the final judgment of conviction and transmit it or a copy thereof to the Court.
(e) Proceedings Where an Attorney Is Declared to Be Incompetent or Is Alleged to Be Incapacitated.
(1) Where an attorney has been judicially declared incompetent, or acquitted of a crime by reason of mental illness, or committed to a mental hospital after a judicial hearing, or where an attorney has been placed by court order under guardianship or conservatorship, the Board, on reference from any court or on its own motion, may, in its discretion, give the attorney the opportunity to resign or to agree to such a suspension, the Court, upon petition of the Board or upon its own motion, may enter an order to show cause why the attorney should not be suspended from the practice of law. A copy of such order shall be served upon the attorney, the attorney's personal representative, if any, and the director of the mental hospital to which the attorney is committed, if any, in such manner as the Court may direct.
(2)(A) Bar Counsel may, after investigation, seek a determination by the Board, or a panel thereof, after hearing, whether an attorney is incapacitated from continuing practice by reason of mental infirmity or addiction to drugs or intoxicants. Upon so finding, the Board shall, promptly petition the court to determine whether the attorney is so incapacitated. The Court after due notice and hearing may make any orders necessary or appropriate to protect the public interest, including an order suspending the attorney.
(B) The Chair of the Board of Overseers, or in the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair, upon an application by Bar Counsel alleging such incapacity of an attorney together with an allegation that the continued practice of such attorney poses a substantial threat of irreparable harm to the public, may direct that such petition seeking the suspension of the attorney be filed directly with the Court. The Court may order such action as it deems appropriate, including an expedited hearing. The Court may enter an interim order suspending the attorney pending such expedited hearing. With notice to Bar Counsel, the attorney may move for dissolution or modification of the interim order of suspension.
(3) If during a disciplinary proceeding the respondent-attorney claims to be suffering from disability by reason of mental or physical infirmity or illness, or because of addiction to drugs or intoxicants, which makes it impossible to present an adequate defense, the Court may suspend the respondent attorney from continuing to practice law until a determination has been made concerning the respondent attorney's capacity to continue to practice law, and may take other appropriate action.
(4) Any attorney who has resigned or has been suspended under the provision of this subdivision may apply for reinstatement in accordance with Rule 7.3(j) after the expiration of 1 year and annually thereafter, or at such shorter intervals as the Court may permit. The Court may enter any appropriate order or orders in connection with an application, including an order for a medical and mental examination of the attorney, at the attorney's expense or at public expense. Where an attorney suspended under this subdivision, has been judicially declared to be competent, the Court may dispense with further evidence that the disability has been removed.
(f) Appointment of a Proxy to Protect Clients' Interests When Attorney Is Disabled, Missing or Deceased.
(1) Whenever an attorney is disabled, missing or deceased, and no associated lawyer (see M. Bar R. 3.15(a)) or lawyer designated in the disabled missing or deceased attorney’s annual registration statement under M. Bar R. 6(a)(1) is available to act to protect the interests of clients and conclude the law practice, the Court may appoint a Proxy who is a licensed Maine attorney in good standing with the duties described in this Rule. A Proxy shall be authorized by Court order to take some or all of the following actions:
(i) Secure the professional files, client data and client property in an appropriate location and notify the Board of Overseers of that location;
(ii) Create an inventory of the open and closed client files;
(iii) Give priority attention to client matters that are identified as open, active and apparently time sensitive, including notifying clients of the need to seek new counsel or to represent themselves; if necessary the Proxy may seek protection for certain clients by giving notice to tribunals or others concerning the circumstances giving rise to the Proxyship, without entering an appearance for the client.
(iv) Notify all clients that the law practice is concluding and invite clients to retrieve their client files. Such notice may be by letter, phone, email, newspaper advertisement in a newspaper in general circulation in the county where the law practice was located and/or such other method as will effect notice. Notice to clients with open matters should be made by as direct means as possible;
(v) Guide the personal representative or conservator of the deceased, missing or disabled attorney in prudently utilizing the operating accounts to effect the conclusion of the practice, including the temporary retention of office staff or hiring other personnel as necessary and appropriate;
(vi) Guide the personal representative or conservator of the deceased, missing or disabled attorney in the appropriate distribution of client funds and property held in trust;
(vii) Submit to the Court a record of hours worked and disbursements made to allow in some cases for payment of legal fees at the State court appointment rate. The assets or estate of the deceased, missing or incapacitated attorney shall be the first choice for source of payment to the Proxy. A Proxy may serve in a pro bono capacity. Otherwise, a Proxy may be compensated from another source ordered by the Court.
(viii) Continue to act as Proxy until discharged by the Court in accordance with paragraph 3 of this Rule;
(ix) Take any and all other appropriate action consistent with the discretion vested in the Proxy by the Court and/ or as specifically ordered by the Court.
(2) Prior to petition for discharge, the Proxy shall formulate for the approval of the Court a plan for the custody, care, appropriate release and ultimate destruction of client files. The plan will identify a file caretaker (who may be the Proxy) who will maintain and appropriately release the client files to clients subsequent to the discharge of the Proxy. The plan must provide for confidential destruction of all client files and data, regardless of content, eight (8) years from the date of the discharge of the Proxy. The destruction date may be earlier if so ordered by the Court. The plan must include the requirement that the file caretaker provide written notice to the Board of Overseers confirming the confidential destruction of files and data immediately after it has occurred.
(3) The Proxy shall serve until discharged by the Court. The Proxy may petition the Court for discharge from appointment upon completion of duties or sooner for other good cause. With the petition for discharge the Proxy shall file a report of services rendered. With the approval of the court, the report or any part thereof may be filed under seal. The report should include:
(i) The inventory of files and the status of each file as released or retained;
(ii) The plan for the security and handling of the retained client files;
(iii) An accounting from the personal representative or conservator of the law practice operating accounts during the period of Proxyship;
(iv) An accounting from the personal representative or conservator of the law practice client trust fund accounts during the period of Proxyship; and
(v) Any other information deemed by the Proxy or the Court to be necessary and appropriate;
(4) Any Proxy so appointed shall not disclose any information contained in any file listed in such inventory without the consent of the client to whom such file relates except as may be necessary to carry out an order of court including any order under this Rule. Any Proxy may be engaged by any former client of the deceased, missing or disabled attorney, provided that the Proxy informs any such client in writing that the client is free to choose to employ any attorney, and that the Court's appointment order under section (2) of this Rule does not mandate or recommend employment by the client of the Proxy. The Proxy is subject to all Bar Rules, including Bar Rule 3.4 on conflicts of interest. However the client’s retention of the Proxy as successor counsel is not a per se conflict of interest solely by reason of the Proxy’s appointment under this Rule.
(5) The Proxy shall be protected from liability for professional services rendered in accordance with this Rule to the extent permitted by law.
(6) In every case, the Proxy shall provide copies of all pleadings and orders under this Rule to the Board of Overseers of the Bar.
(g) Resignations by Attorneys Under Disciplinary Investigation.
(1) An attorney who is the subject of an investigation under these rules may submit to the Board a letter of resignation, supported by an affidavit that:
(A) the resignation is freely and voluntarily rendered; the attorney is not being subjected to coercion or duress and is fully aware of the implications of submitting the resignation;
(B) the attorney is aware that there is presently pending an investigation into allegations of misconduct, the nature of which allegations the attorney shall specifically set forth; and
(C) the attorney acknowledges that the material facts, or specified material portions of them, underlying the allegations are true.
(2) Upon receipt of such resignation, the Board shall file it, together with its recommendation thereon, with the Court, which after hearing shall enter such order as it deems appropriate.
(3) Any order accepting such resignation under this section shall be a matter of public record unless otherwise ordered by the Court; but the supporting affidavit required under the provisions of subsection (1) shall be impounded, whether or not such resignation is accepted, and shall not be made available for use in any other proceeding unless otherwise ordered by the Court.
(h) Reciprocal Discipline.
(1) Upon the receipt of a certified copy of an order that an attorney admitted to practice in this State has been subject to discipline in another jurisdiction (including any federal court or any state or federal administrative body or tribunal), the Court shall enter an order of notice containing a copy of the order from the other jurisdiction and directing the respondent attorney to inform the Court within 30 days from service of the order of notice of any claim that the imposition of the identical discipline in this State would be unwarranted and the reasons therefor. Bar Counsel shall cause this order of notice to be served upon the respondent attorney by registered or certified mail, with restricted delivery and return receipt requested.
(2) In the event that the discipline imposed in the other jurisdiction has been stayed there, any reciprocal discipline imposed in this State may, but need not, be deferred.
(3) Upon the expiration of 30 days from service of the notice under subsection (1) above, the Court, after reasonable notice and hearing, may enter such order as the evidence warrants and may impose the identical discipline unless Bar Counsel or the respondent attorney established, or the Court concludes, that (i) the procedure in the other jurisdiction did not provide reasonable notice or opportunity to be heard; (ii) there was significant infirmity of proof establishing the misconduct; (iii) imposition of the same discipline would result in grave injustice; or (iv) the misconduct established does not justify the same discipline in this State.
(4) A final adjudication in another jurisdiction that an attorney had been guilty of misconduct may be treated as establishing the misconduct for purposes of a disciplinary proceeding in this State.
(i) Action by Disbarred or Suspended Attorneys or Attorneys Who Resign Under Rule 7.3(g) or Attorneys Who Assume Inactive Status Under Rule 6(c).
(1) Action by Disbarred Attorneys or Attorneys Suspended for Disciplinary Reasons or Attorneys Who Resign Under Rule 7.3(g).
(A) Unless the Court orders otherwise, orders imposing suspension or disbarment or accepting the resignation of an attorney under Rule 7.3(g) shall be effective 30 days after entry. The disbarred or suspended attorney or an attorney whose resignation has been accepted under Rule 7.3(g), after entry of the disbarment or suspension order or order accepting the resignation, shall not accept any new retainer or engage as attorney for another in any new case or legal matter of any nature. During the period from the entry date of the order to its effective date, however, the attorney may wind up and complete, on behalf of any client, all matters which were pending on the entry date, unless the Court orders otherwise. The Court may make such orders for assistance by co-counsel or supervision during the period from the entry date of the order to its effective date as are appropriate to protect the interests of the clients.
(B) A disbarred or suspended attorney or an attorney who has resigned under Rule 7.3(g) shall take action (i) to notify all clients (meaning those with whom the attorney then has open engagements) of the disbarment, resignation or suspension and the attorney's consequent inability to act as an attorney after the effective date of the disbarment, resignation or suspension; (ii) to notify each client who is involved in pending litigation or administrative proceedings, and the attorney or attorneys for each adverse party in such matter or proceeding, of the disbarment, resignation or suspension and the attorney's consequent inability to act as an attorney after the effective date of the disbarment, resignation or suspension; (iii) to advise each client promptly to substitute another attorney or attorneys or to seek legal advice elsewhere, and (iv) to give such notice of the Court's action as the Court may direct in the public interest. A disbarred, resigned or suspended attorney shall file with the Clerk and also with the Board within 30 days of the effective date of the disbarment, resignation or suspension order an affidavit attesting compliance with the provisions of the preceding sentence and the provisions of Rule 7.3(i)(1)(C). Such affidavit shall include a list of the names and addresses of all clients, attorneys, courts, and agencies to whom notice was sent as required by the rules, together with a copy of the text of the notices sent.
(C) It shall be the responsibility of the disbarred or suspended attorney or an attorney who has resigned under Rule 7.3(g) to give notice of the disbarment, resignation or suspension forthwith to each court or agency in which the attorney appears for any party. Any notice of the disbarment, resignation or suspension thus given to the court or agency (or to the attorney or attorneys for an adverse party). Any notice of the disbarment, resignation or suspension thus given to the court or agency (or to the attorney or attorneys for an adverse party) shall state the place of residence of the client of the disbarred, resigned or suspended attorney, and shall identify the particular proceeding by docket number as well as by names of parties.
(D) Whenever the Court deems it necessary, it may appoint an attorney admitted to the Bar of this State to take appropriate action in lieu of, or in addition to, the action directed in subparagraphs (B) and (C) above.
(E) The Board shall promptly transmit a copy of the order of suspension or disbarment or of the order accepting the resignation to the clerk of each court and to each administrative body, state or federal, in which it has reason to believe the disciplined attorney has been admitted to practice.
(F) Any failure by a disbarred, resigned or suspended attorney to comply with any of the provisions of this rule, may be found to constitute a contempt of court and thereupon subject said attorney to such sanctions as the Court may further order, including but not limited to, an extension of the time period of any order of suspension from the practice of law.
(2) Action by Attorneys Suspended for Failure to Register, to Pay the Annual Fee, to Satisfy Mandatory CLE Requirements, or by Attorneys Who Assume Inactive Status.
(A) An attorney who has been suspended for failing to file a registration statement under Rule 6 of the Maine Bar Rules, for failure to satisfy the mandatory CLE requirements imposed by Rule 12, or an attorney who assumes inactive status under Rule 6(c) shall:
(i) not accept any new retainer or engage as attorney for another in any new case or legal matter of any nature;
(ii) notify each client (meaning those with whom the attorney then has open engagements) of the attorney’s suspension or assumption of inactive status and the consequent inability to act as an attorney after the effective date of the suspension or assumption of inactive status;
(iii) notify each client who the attorney is advising or representing in pending litigation or administrative proceedings, and the attorney or attorneys or other representative for each other party in such matter or proceeding, of the attorney’s suspension and consequent inability to act as an attorney after the effective date of the suspension or assumption of inactive status;
(iv) advise each client promptly to substitute another attorney or attorneys or to seek legal advice elsewhere;
(v) notify each court or federal, state or local administrative agency or private arbitration, mediation or alternative dispute resolution forum in which the attorney appears for any party of the attorney’s suspension and consequent inability to act as an attorney after the effective date of the suspension or assumption of inactive status; and any notice of the suspension or assumption of inactive status given to a court, administrative agency or private dispute resolution forum shall state the place of residence of the client of the attorney, and shall identify the particular proceeding by docket number as well as by names of parties, with copies of the notice sent to each party to the proceeding, and
(vi) give such other notice of the Court's action as the Court may direct in the public interest.
(B) Within 30 days of the effective date of the suspension or when filing the notice of the attorney's desire to assume inactive status, the attorney shall file with the Clerk and also with the Board an affidavit attesting compliance with the provisions of the preceding paragraph (A). The affidavit shall include a list of the names and addresses of all clients, attorneys, courts, administrative agencies and private dispute resolution forums to whom notice was sent as required by the rules, together with a copy of the text of the notices sent. If an attorney has no clients or attorneys to notify, a statement to that effect shall be included in the affidavit.
(C) Whenever the Court deems it necessary, it may appoint an attorney admitted to the Bar of this State to take appropriate action in lieu of, or in addition to, the action directed in subparagraphs (A) and (B) above.
(D) The Board shall promptly transmit notice of the suspension or of the assumption of inactive status to the Clerk of each court and to each administrative body, state or federal, in which it has reason to believe the attorney has been admitted to practice.
(1) An attorney who has resigned pursuant to subdivision (g) of this rule, or who has been suspended for more than six months or who has been disbarred may not be reinstated otherwise than upon petition filed in the Court after the expiration of the suspension or at least 5 years from the effective date of the resignation or of the order of disbarment, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.
(2) An attorney who has been suspended for a specific period of six months or less need not petition for reinstatement, but shall, upon the expiration of the period and before resuming practice, comply with Rule 6.
(3) An attorney who has been suspended indefinitely or resigned due to disability under the provisions of subdivision (e) may petition for reinstatement as therein provided:
(A) If applicable to the initial suspension or resignation, in addition to the factors required under Section (5) of this Rule, petitioner must also present evidence that:
(i) The disability or infirmity has been removed;
(ii) The attorney has pursued appropriate rehabilitative treatment and continues to do so;
(iii) The attorney has abstained from the use of alcohol or other drugs for at least 1 year; and
(iv) The attorney is likely to continue to abstain from alcohol or other drugs.
(B) The Court may enter any appropriate order or orders in connection with an application, including an order for a medical and mental examination of the attorney, at the attorney's expense or at public expense.
(C) Where an attorney has been suspended or has resigned under this subdivision, and has been subsequently judicially declared to be competent, the Court may dispense with further evidence that the disability has been removed.
(D) The petitioner shall identify every psychiatrist, psychologist and physician by whom, and every hospital or clinic in which, the attorney has been examined or treated since suspension, and upon request shall furnish to the Court written consent to each to divulge such information and records as requested by the Court.
(4) An attorney who has been suspended for non-disciplinary reasons under Rules 6 or 10 of the Maine Bar Rules may petition to the Court for reinstatement.
The Court may enter any appropriate order or orders in connection with such application.
(5) Petitions for reinstatement (including those under subdivision (e)) shall be filed with the Executive Clerk of the Court and also with the Board of Overseers of the Bar accompanied by a $ 200.00 filing fee payable to the Board of Overseers of the Bar. The petitioner shall also provide a completed Board reinstatement questionnaire to Bar Counsel at the same time as the filing of the petition. Upon review and conclusion that the petition and questionnaire have been properly completed and filed, Bar Counsel shall, with or without investigation, either agree with or oppose the petition.
If Bar Counsel agrees that reinstatement is appropriate, the petitioner shall be so informed and the matter shall be placed before the Board for consideration at its next available meeting for the petitioner, petitioner's counsel, if any, and Bar Counsel to appear to allow the Board to confirm that the petitioner's reinstatement should be recommended for approval by the Court, or to direct Bar Counsel to oppose the petition.
If Bar Counsel opposes the petition, the petitioner shall be so informed and the matter shall be immediately referred to the Grievance Commission Chair or Vice Chair for hearing which will ordinarily be by a hearing panel of that Commission.
On any petition referred for hearing, the Grievance Commission shall promptly and on reasonable notice (including reasonable notice to the Attorney General, the Maine State Bar Association and appropriate local bar association and District Attorneys) hear the petitioner who shall have the burden of presenting clear and convincing evidence demonstrating the moral qualifications, competency, and learning in law required for admission to practice law in this State. The petitioner shall also offer clear and convincing evidence that it is likely that reinstatement will not be detrimental to the integrity and standing of the Bar, the administration of justice, or to the public interest. Factors to be considered as to the petitioner's meeting that burden include evidence that:
(A) The petitioner has fully complied with the terms of all prior disciplinary orders;
(B) The petitioner has neither engaged nor attempted to engage in the unauthorized practice of law;
(C) The petitioner recognizes the wrongfulness and seriousness of the misconduct;
(D) The petitioner has not engaged in any other professional misconduct since resignation, suspension or disbarment;
(E) The petitioner has the requisite honesty and integrity to practice law;
(F) The petitioner has met the continuing legal education requirements of Rule 12(a)(1) for each year the attorney has been inactive, withdrawn or prohibited from the practice of law in Maine, but need not complete more than 22 credit hours of approved continuing legal education for that entire period of absence from practice, provided that: (1) no more than one half of the credits are earned through in-office courses, self-study, or a combination thereof; and (2) at least two credit hours are primarily concerned with the issues of ethics or professional responsibility.
(6) The Grievance Commission shall transmit to the Board and to the petitioner its findings and recommendations by written report, and provide the Board with any record it has made. If no timely objection to the report is filed by either party, the Board shall adopt the Commission's findings and recommendations, and so inform the Court. After consideration of a party's timely objection to the report the Board shall file its recommendations and findings with the Court, together with any record that has been made. The Court shall, with or without hearing, grant or deny the petition for reinstatement by written order which may include such conditions to be met by a specific date on the petitioner's reinstatement as the Court deems necessary to protect the public interest. The Court may, before granting the petition, require that by a specific date the petitioner take and pass the modified bar examination (or its then equivalent) as administered by the Board of Bar Examiners of this State.
(7) The petitioner shall pay for any stenographic transcription(s) of the reinstatement proceedings, and the Court in its discretion may direct that the petitioner pay any additional expenses incurred in connection with a petition for reinstatement.
(1) All inquiries, letters, replies, records, documents and files relating to any complaints alleging misconduct by an attorney shall be kept confidential by the Board, except for any disciplinary pleading and exhibits as filed under Rule 7.1(e) or 7.2.
(2) In the event a grievance complaint is predicated upon the conviction of the respondent attorney for a crime, or the Board determines that the matter is based upon allegations that have become generally known to the public, the existence and status of that complaint may be publicly commented upon by the Board but shall otherwise be governed by section (1) of this Rule. In all instances, a complainant of interest shall be informed of the disposition by the Grievance Commission of the complaint as provided in Rule 7.1.
(3) The provisions of this subdivision shall not be construed to deny access to relevant information to authorized agencies investigating the qualifications of judicial candidates, or to other jurisdictions investigating qualifications for admission to practice or considering reciprocal disciplinary action, or to law enforcement agencies investigating qualifications for government employment or to the National Discipline Data Bank of the American Bar Association where discipline under these rules has been imposed, or to the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability, in accordance with Rule 1(a) or to the Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection under LFCP Rule 12(d).
(4) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prevent Bar Counsel or any other person from notifying i) the appropriate law enforcement agency of complaints that accuse the respondent attorney of conduct in violation of a criminal law, or ii) a lawyer serving in a substance abuse program approved by the Board, of the name of any lawyer whom Bar Counsel determines should be contacted concerning that program.
(5) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit Bar Counsel's use of relevant information in the investigation or prosecution of complaints pursuant to Rules 7.1(c), (d) or 7.2.
(6) Notwithstanding any other provisions of these Rules, any person, including but not limited to members of the Board, Grievance Commission and Board staff may notify governmental officials of actual or threatened criminal conduct by any individual.
(l) Substituted Service. In the event a respondent attorney cannot be located and served in hand with any notice required so to be served under these rules, such notice may be served upon the respondent attorney by addressing it by certified, registered or first-class mail, as the court or the Board may direct, to the address furnished by the respondent attorney in the last registration statement filed in accordance with Rule 6 (or to the respondent attorney's last known business or home address if no registration statement has been filed), and by such publication as the Court may direct.
(m) Subpoena Power.
(1) At any stage of an investigation or formal proceeding, a witness or respondent attorney may be summoned by subpoena to appear before Bar Counsel, the Grievance Commission or a panel thereof, the Board or a panel thereof, or the Court. Any member of the Board or of the Grievance Commission, a notary public, or the Clerk of the Superior Court in any county may issue subpoenas for witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum to compel the production of books, papers and photographs. The Board, the Grievance Commission or the Chair of any panel thereof, upon motion made promptly and in any event at or before the time specified in the subpoena for compliance therewith, may quash or modify any subpoena issued for appearance before Bar Counsel, the Board, the Grievance Commission or panels thereof, if the subpoena is unreasonable or oppressive. Witness fees in all proceedings under this rule shall be the same as for witnesses before the Superior Court. When a witness who has been subpoenaed fails to appear without reasonable excuse, the Supreme Judicial Court or any justice thereof, or the Superior Court or any justice thereof, may, on application of Bar Counsel or other interested person, invoke the provisions of Rule 45(f) of the Maine Rules of Civil Procedure for such failure.
(2) Whenever a subpoena is sought in this state pursuant to the law of another jurisdiction for use in lawyer discipline or disability proceedings, and where the subpoena has been duly issued under the law of the other jurisdiction, any member of the Board or of the Grievance Commission, a notary public, or the clerk of the Superior Court in any county, may for good cause shown issue a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum as provided in this section to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers and photographs but only in the county where the witness resides or is employed or elsewhere within this state as fixed by any member of the Board or of the Grievance Commission. Service, enforcement, or challenges to this subpoena shall be as elsewhere provided in this rule.
(n) Required Records; Audit. Every attorney subject to these rules shall maintain complete records of the handling, maintenance and disposition of all funds, securities and other properties of a client at any time in the attorney's possession, from the time of receipt to the time of final distribution, and shall preserve such records for a period of 6 years after final distribution of such funds, securities or other properties, or any portion thereof. Where formal disciplinary proceedings have been instituted pursuant to Rule 7.1(e), the Board shall have the power to audit all of the records, files, books of account, bank accounts, vault boxes and other records and depositories which relate to, directly or indirectly, such funds, securities and other properties of a consenting client at any time in the attorney's possession; and every attorney subject hereto shall cooperate fully with respect to the orders of the Board, Bar Counsel and their agents, including certified public accountants appointed by them, with respect to such audit procedures, including the time and place thereof. In furtherance hereof, the Board or Bar counsel may petition for, and any justice of the court may, for good cause shown, enter an ex parte order to such attorney or others, with respect to the exercise of the audit powers and authorities of the board or Bar Counsel hereunder.
(o) Privilege for Peer Assistance or Substance Abuse Communications. In any proceeding under this rule, a respondent attorney has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications made by the respondent attorney while seeking or receiving peer assistance or substance abuse treatment under a program approved by the Board of Overseers of the Bar. A "confidential communication" is a communication not intended to be disclosed to third persons other than those to whom disclosure is made in the course of seeking or receiving peer assistance or substance abuse treatment.