How does JDPP relate to the Office of General Counsel or the Judicial Qualifications Commission?
The Program operates independently from the disciplinary systems presently in place with the Office of General Counsel and the Judicial Qualifications Commission. The JDPP is informal, private and voluntary rather than formal and mandatory, and it does not address violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct or violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
How is JDPP authorized?
The Program was submitted to and approved by the Executive Committee and Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia and ultimately by the Georgia Supreme Court by Order dated February 24, 2000. The Supreme Court adopted Rules governing the operation of the Program which are found at Part XIII of the Rules and Regulations for the Organization and Regulation of the State Bar of Georgia ("Bar Rules"). At the same time, the Supreme Court approved Internal Operating Procedures for the administration of the Program and granted the Bench and Bar Committee of the State Bar authority to adopt additional Operating Procedures not inconsistent with the Rules.
What do Judicial District Professionalism Committees do?
The JDPCs promote traditions of civility and professionalism through increased communication, education, and the informal use of local peer influence to alter unprofessional conduct on a voluntary basis. A JDPC may choose to serve the following functions:
* Mentoring - providing guidance in "best practices" for lawyers and judges
* Mechanism for privately receiving and attempting to resolve inquiries and requests for assistance from lawyers and judges on an informal basis. In this regard, JDPP addresses disputes between lawyers and lawyers and disputes between lawyers and judges.
* Initiator of other creative programs developed and implemented by each committee for the particular Judicial District.
What does JDPP not handle?
* Lawyer/client disputes. Inquiries by clients or other members of the public are handled by the Consumer Assistance Program or other appropriate State Bar programs.
* Fee disputes. These can be handled by the Fee Arbitration Program of the State Bar.
* Employment matters. Example: Allegation that managing attorney sexually harasses associates and support staff.
* Lawyer/vendor disputes. Example: Court reporter alleges that lawyer has not paid bill.
* Disciplinary matters. Example: Lawyer receives trust account check from opposing counsel; check bounces.
What is considered an "inquiry" for purposes of the JDPP?
Inquiry means any inquiry or concern expressed about unprofessional conduct as outlined in the Bar Rules or Internal Operating Procedures for the JDPP, but does not include any disciplinary charge, ethics violation, criminal conduct, or any other matter which falls under the provisions of Part IV (Discipline) of the Bar Rules or the Code of Judicial Conduct. For purposes of the JDPP, the party making the inquiry or expressing the concern is called the inquiring party. The party about whom the inquiry or concern is expressed is called the responding party.
What is the Judicial District Professionalism Program (JDPP)?
What is the Judicial District Professionalism Program (JDPP)? JDPP is an informal, private, and voluntary program developed by the Bench and Bar Committee of the State Bar to improve the profession and bolster public confidence in the judicial system. The goal of the JDPP is to promote professionalism through increased communication, education, and the informal use of local peer influence to open channels of communication on a voluntary basis. While no judge or lawyer is required to cooperate or counsel with the JDPP, the Program is intended as a source of support for all Georgia judges and lawyers in maintaining and enhancing the professionalism of the legal system.
What is the procedure for a JDPC inquiry?
Step 1: Concern or inquiry is reported to:
* State Bar Executive Director Jeff Davis, or any member of the Board of Governors or
* State Bar Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) intake staff lawyer; (404) 527-8759 or (800) 334-6865.
Step 2: Person receiving inquiry and information:
* Routes inquiry to CAP for preparation of JDPP Inquiry Data Form.
* May call the local JDPC Chair of the Judicial District where the responding judge/lawyer maintains his or her principal office.
Step 3: CAP intake staff will:
* Assign JDPP inquiry number.
* Gather Inquiry Data Form information. Note: In the interest of privacy, this form does not contain the name of any person about whom an inquiry or concern has been expressed (responding party).
* Place phone call to local JDPC Chair to provide name of responding party.
* Forward JDPP Inquiry Data Form to local JDPC Chair.
Step 4: Local JDPC Chair will:
* Refer inquiry to local sub-committee of JDPC for handling; or
* Call a meeting to discuss appropriate action based upon nature of inquiry.
Step 5: Local JDPC or sub-committee of JDPC will determine whether:
* Inquiry merits study or intervention.
* Judicial Advisor should be consulted, depending upon nature of the inquiry.
* Inquiry needs to be referred to Lawyer Assistance, Law Practice Management, or other State Bar program.
Step 6: If local JDPC determines further study or intervention is warranted, a meeting with the responding lawyer/judge will be scheduled, or sub-committee members and/or Judicial Advisors will be designated to handle.
Step 7: If local JDPC determines no further study or intervention is warranted, inquiry will not be pursued further.
Step 8: After resolution of inquiry, JDPP Inquiry Data Form will be completed showing how inquiry was handled and then returned to Consumer Assistance Program. This form does not contain the name of any person about whom an inquiry or concern has been expressed.
What is the structure of the JDPP?
The JDPP is the name of the overall program which is comprised of committees of Board of Governors members from each of Georgia's ten Judicial Districts. These committees are called Judicial District Professionalism Committees. Each Judicial District Professionalism Committee (JDPC) consists of the current members of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of Georgia from the particular Judicial District. The JDPC members for each of the Judicial Districts select one or more Judicial Advisors within each district. The longest serving member on the Board of Governors serves as the Chair for that District.
What kinds of issues does JDPP handle?
Inquiries from only lawyers or judges are referred to JDPP. JDPP committees may address the following patterns of conduct:
Unprofessional Judicial Conduct:
* Incivility, bias or conduct unbecoming a judge
* Lack of appropriate respect or deference
* Failure to adhere to Uniform Superior Court Rules
* Excessive delay
* Consistent lack of preparation
* Other conduct deemed professionally inappropriate by each JDPP with the advice of the Judicial Advisors
Unprofessional Lawyer Conduct:
* Lack of appropriate respect or deference
* Abusive discovery practices
* Incivility, bias or conduct unbecoming a lawyer
* Consistent lack of preparation
* Communication problems
* Deficient practice skills
* Other conduct deemed professionally inappropriate by each Judicial District Professionalism Committee
Inquiries or requests for assistance relating to conduct in pending litigation or ongoing transactional matters are generally better left to the judicial process or the negotiations of the parties. Consequently, any JDPP response to such requests should generally be delayed to the conclusion of the matter.