The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (formerly known as the Office of Bar Counsel) was created in 1972 as a result of the Court Reorganization Act, which established the D.C. Court of Appeals. Pursuant to Rule XI of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the Bar, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel serves as the chief prosecutor for attorney disciplinary matters involving active or inactive attorneys who are members of the D.C. Bar. In this capacity, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel functions to (1) protect the public and the courts; (2) maintain the integrity of the legal profession; and (3) deter attorneys from engaging in misconduct.
The Office of Disciplinary Counsel investigates complaints and allegations of ethical misconduct and initiates appropriate resolutions, ranging from dismissals, diversions, and informal admonitions, to the preparation of formal charges.
In cases in which charges are formally presented by petition, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel prosecutes the charges before a hearing committee, the Board on Professional Responsibility, and ultimately. the D.C. Court of Appeals.