2017 ORS 9.568¹
State lawyers assistance committee
  • personal and practice management assistance committees
  • rules
  • confidentiality
  • civil immunity

(1)(a) The board of governors of the Oregon State Bar may create a state lawyers assistance committee for the purpose of implementing a lawyers assistance program and, pursuant thereto, authorize the state lawyers assistance committee to investigate and resolve complaints or referrals regarding lawyers whose performance or conduct may impair their ability to practice law or their professional competence.

(b) The board may adopt rules for the operation of the state lawyers assistance committee.

(c) The purpose of the state lawyers assistance committee is the provision of supervision and assistance to those lawyers whose performance or conduct may impair their ability to practice law or their professional competence.

(2)(a) In addition to the state lawyers assistance committee created under subsection (1) of this section, the board may create personal and practice management assistance committees to provide assistance to lawyers who are suffering from impairment or other circumstances that may adversely affect professional competence or conduct. Personal and practice management assistance committees may also provide advice and training to lawyers in practice management.

(b) The board may adopt rules governing the provision of assistance to lawyers by personal and practice management assistance committees.

(c) The purpose of a personal and practice management assistance committee is the provision of completely confidential assistance, advice and training to lawyers in a manner that fosters maximum openness in communications between a lawyer and the committee and that encourages a lawyer to seek assistance from the committee.

(3) Any information provided to or obtained by the state lawyers assistance committee or any personal and practice management assistance committee, or provided to or obtained by any agent of those committees, is:

(a) Confidential;

(b) Exempt from the provisions of ORS 192.311 (Definitions for ORS 192.311 to 192.478) to 192.478 (Exemption for Judicial Department);

(c) Not discoverable or admissible in any civil proceeding without the written consent of the lawyer to whom the information pertains; and

(d) Not discoverable or admissible in any disciplinary proceeding except to the extent provided by rules of procedure adopted pursuant to ORS 9.542 (Rules for investigation of attorneys and applicants).

(4) The limitations placed on the disclosure and admissibility of information in this section shall not apply to information relating to a lawyer’s noncooperation with the state lawyers assistance committee or any agent of the committee, or to information otherwise obtained by the bar from any other source.

(5) The board may authorize the state lawyers assistance committee to act as the monitor or supervisor for lawyers placed on probation or in diversion in connection with a disciplinary investigation or proceeding, or who have been conditionally admitted or reinstated to the practice of law. Any information provided to or obtained by the state lawyers assistance committee when the committee acts as a monitor or supervisor under the provisions of this subsection is not subject to subsection (3) of this section.

(6) All meetings of the state lawyers assistance committee and the personal and practice management assistance committees are exempt from the provisions of ORS 192.610 (Definitions for ORS 192.610 to 192.690) to 192.690 (Exceptions to ORS 192.610 to 192.690).

(7) Any person who makes a complaint or referral to the bar as to the competence of an attorney or provides information or testimony in connection with the state lawyers assistance committee or any personal and practice management assistance committee is not subject to an action for civil damages as a result thereof.

(8) With respect to their acts in connection with the state lawyers assistance committee or any personal and practice management assistance committee, the same privileges and immunities from civil and criminal proceedings that apply to prosecuting and judicial officers of the state shall apply to the board, all officers and employees of the bar, and the members of the committees and their agents.

(9) For the purposes of this section, agents of the state lawyers assistance committee or a personal and practice management assistance committee include investigators, attorneys, counselors, staff personnel and any other individual or entity acting on behalf of or at the request of the committees. [Formerly 9.545; 2005 c.347 §3]

(formerly 9.545)

Law Review Cita­tions

Under Former Similar Statute (Ors 9.595)

18 WLR 313 (1982)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 9—Attorneys; Law Libraries, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors009.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 9, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano009.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.