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Disciplinary proceedings back on line

The Supreme Court of Virginia will allow the Virginia State Bar to once again post on its Web site disciplinary information about a lawyer before the time for filing an appeal has expired.

The court caught the bar by surprise in March by directing the VSB to remove such information from the site.

The court did not give any reasons for the change, but it apparently stemmed from a complaint from a lawyer who had a disciplinary citation dismissed on appeal.

Howard W. Martin Jr., who was VSB president at the time, lodged a strong protest with the court. He pointed out that rule changes in 2001 made the disciplinary process more transparent.

The changes included making disciplinary proceedings public and posting them on line after probable cause was found that an attorney had violated legal ethics.

The court discussed the issue last week with VSB President Manuel A. Capsalis and Executive Director Karen A. Gould and sent a letter advising them to resume the postings with information about the status of the proceeding and whether an appeal has been taken.

By Alan Cooper

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