Bar Rules

Rule 4-203.1. Uniform Service Rule

Ethics & Discipline / Current Rules / Part IV (After January 1 / 2001) - Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct (also includes Disciplinary Proceedings and Advisory Opinion rules) / CHAPTER 2 DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

  1. Attorneys authorized to practice law in Georgia shall inform the Membership Department of the State Bar of Georgia, in writing, of their current name, official address and telephone number. The Supreme Court of Georgia and the State Bar of Georgia may rely on the official address on file with the Membership Department in all efforts to contact, communicate with, and perfect service upon an attorney. The choice of an attorney to provide only a post office box or equivalent commercial address to the Membership Department of the State Bar of Georgia shall constitute an election to waive personal service. Notification of a change of address given to any department of the State Bar of Georgia other than the Membership Department shall not satisfy the requirement herein.
  2. In all matters requiring personal service under Part IV of the Bar Rules, service may be perfected in the following manner:
    1. Acknowledgment of Service: An acknowledgment of service from the Respondent shall constitute conclusive proof of service and shall eliminate the need to utilize any other form of service.
    2. Written Response from Respondent: A written response from the Respondent or Respondent's counsel shall constitute conclusive proof of service and shall eliminate the need to utilize any other form of service.
    3. In the absence of an acknowledgment of service, or a written response from the Respondent or Respondent's counsel, and subject to the provisions of paragraph (4) below, the Respondent shall be served in the following manner:
      1. Personal service: Service may be accomplished by the Sheriff, or a Court approved agent for service of process, or any person approved by the Chairperson of the Investigative Panel or the Chair's designee. Receipt of a Return of Service Non Est Inventus from the Sheriff or any other person approved for service of the service documents, shall constitute conclusive proof that service cannot be perfected by personal service.
      2. Service by publication: In the event that personal service cannot be perfected, or when the Respondent has only provided a post office box to the Membership Department and Respondent has not acknowledged service within twenty (20) days of a mailing to Respondent's post office box, service may be accomplished by publication once a week for two weeks in the legal organ of the county of Respondent's address, as shown on the records of the Membership Department of the State Bar of Georgia, and, contemporaneously with the publication, mailing a copy of the service documents by first class mail to Respondent's address as shown on the records of the Membership Department of the State Bar of Georgia.
    4. When it appears from an affidavit made by the Office of General Counsel that the Respondent has departed from the state, or cannot, after due diligence, be found within the state, or seeks to avoid the service, the Chairperson of the Investigative Panel, or the chair's designee, may authorize service by publication without the necessity of first attempting personal service. The affidavit made by the Office of General Counsel must demonstrate recent unsuccessful attempts at personal service upon the Respondent regarding other or related disciplinary matters and that such personal service was attempted at Respondent's address as shown on the records of the Membership Department of the State Bar of Georgia.
  3. Whenever service of pleadings or other documents subsequent to the original complaint is required or permitted to be made upon a party represented by an attorney, the service shall be made upon the attorney unless service upon the party himself is otherwise required by these Rules. Service upon the attorney or upon a party shall be made by delivering a copy to him or by mailing it to him at his last known address. As used in this Rule, the term "delivery of a copy" means handing it to the attorney or to the party, or leaving it at his office with his clerk or other person in charge thereof or, if the office is closed or the person to be served has no office, leaving it at his dwelling house or usual place of abode with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein. Service by mail is complete upon mailing. Proof of service may be made by certificate of an attorney or of his employee, by written admission, by affidavit, or by other proof satisfactory to the court. Failure to make proof of service shall not affect the validity of service.



GO TO Rule 4-203. Powers and Duties
GO TO Rule 4-204. Preliminary Investigation by Investigative Panel-Generally
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