Committee on Admission and Practice
(1) The Chief Judge, with the concurrence of the Court, shall appoint members of the Court's bar to serve as members of the Committee on Admission and Practice, and designate one member as the Chair. The number of members on the Committee shall be determined by the Chief Judge in consultation with (concurrence not required) the Court. The Committee shall perform its duties in panels of three members. The members of each panel shall be selected by the Clerk at random. Any member selected at random may, for justifiable reason as determined by the Committee Chair, decide not to serve as a member of a particular panel. The Clerk shall select at random a replacement for that panel member. The Committee Chair shall appoint a chair for each panel.
(2) Each member is appointed for a term of three years, except that the term of a member continued under subsection (a)(1) shall expire on the date previously established for that member, and that member may be reappointed to one additional consecutive term without regard to prior service on the Committee or under the predecessor version of these rules. A member (other than a holdover member as provided for in the preceding sentence) may be reappointed to an additional consecutive term in connection with an appointment that has not already been preceded by an additional consecutive term. There is no limit on the number of nonconsecutive terms to which any member may be appointed.
(3) A member may serve until a successor has been appointed. If a member holds over after his or her term expires, the holdover period shall be part of the successor's term.
(4) A member of the Committee may resign from the Committee, or the Chief Judge, with the concurrence of the Court, may, due to disability or other good cause, revoke an appointment at any time; the successor appointed will serve the unexpired term of his or her predecessor.
(5) Time served as a successor to a member of the Committee whose position became available due to death, disability, or resignation, will not be considered a "term" for the purposes of this Rule.
(6) If, in any case referred to the Committee, the Chair recuses him or herself, the next senior unrecused member (by longevity) will assume the responsibilities of Chair for that case only. If both members have equal service, the Chair, when announcing his or her recusal, will designate, at his or her sole discretion, one unrecused member to act as Chair.
(7) If, in any case referred to the Committee, a member of the Committee recuses himself or herself, the Chief Judge, with the concurrence of the Court, will appoint a member of the Court's bar to serve on the Committee for that case only. In the event that all three members of the Committee recuse themselves, the Chief Judge, with the concurrence of the Court, will appoint three members of the Court's bar, and designate one of those members as Chair, to serve on the Committee for that case only.
(b) Referral. Except when, in connection with a subsequent provision of these rules, the Chief Judge or the Panel determines that a matter will be closed and no action taken or when the practitioner concerned concedes the charges and agrees that the matter need not be referred to the Committee, the Panel will refer matters arising under these rules to the Committee for appropriate investigation, possible hearing, and a report when:
(1) Essential facts are in dispute; or
(2) there is a question whether the evidence initially submitted is sufficient to support a decision; or
(3) another matter concerning the same person is pending before the Committee; or
(4) the Panel concludes that the views of the Committee would materially assist the Court in deciding the matter.
The Panel may refer any other matter arising under these rules to the Committee for any other purpose relating to these rules that the Panel considers appropriate.
(c) Action by the Committee.
(1) After receiving a matter referred by the Panel, the Committee will mail notice to the practitioner concerned regarding the adverse matter(s) and of the rights specified in subsection (d) below.
(2) The Committee may hold a hearing even though the practitioner concerned has not requested one. At any hearing before the Committee, the Committee may call witnesses to testify.
(3) The Committee will investigate the matter and submit its report to the Court as soon as practicable. Its investigation will include the gathering of such additional evidence as it considers appropriate to fulfill its responsibilities. The report of the Committee will include findings of fact, conclusions of law (if appropriate), and a recommendation (with supporting reasons) as to what action the Court should take. In the investigation of applicants or of practitioner misconduct, the Committee must consider and discuss in its report, but is not bound by, the American Bar Association Standards for Imposing Lawyer Sanctions. Any evidence gathered by the Committee will be attached as an appendix or appendices to its report.
(d) General Rights of the Practitioner Concerned. The practitioner concerned is entitled to the following as applicable:
(1) To submit, not later than 30 days after the date of the notice provided pursuant to subsection (c)(1) above, unless that time is extended by the Chair for good cause, a response to any matter(s) referred to the Committee; and
(2) on request, to receive from the Court copies of Court docket sheets; any grievance filed by a member of the public with the Clerk against the practitioner concerned; all evidence presented to the Court or the Committee; and any documents submitted to the Court, as well as any public documents issued by the Court, during litigation of a matter that is related to the matter(s) referred to the Committee; and
(3) to a hearing if, not later than 30 days after the date of the notice referred to in subsection (c)(1) above, a written request is received by the Clerk, who will promptly forward such request to the Chair of the Committee; and
(4) to be represented by counsel retained by him or her; and
(5) to present evidence or submit any relevant information, including the testimony of witnesses; and
(6) to receive from the Clerk, for a fee established by the Court's schedule of fees, a copy of the audiotape and transcript of any hearing that is held; and
(7) to receive from the Committee a copy of any report prepared by the Committee and of any evidence gathered by the Committee; and
(8) to file with the Clerk (in an envelope marked "CONFIDENTIAL") a rebuttal to the Committee's report ["report rebuttal"] not later than 30 days after the date that the report is received by him or her.
(1) On its own initiative, the Committee may conduct a hearing into any matter referred to it, and, at the request of the practitioner concerned or by order of the Court, the Committee will conduct a hearing at an appropriate stage in the proceeding before it. In a case where the practitioner concerned has requested a hearing, a hearing must be conducted before the submission by the Committee of a report to the Court.
(2) All hearings are conducted in private, either in person at the Court's location (or some other location designated by the Chair with the approval of the Chief Judge) or by telephone, at the option of the practitioner concerned. Testimony must be under oath or affirmation and is subject to cross-examination by the applicant or practitioner concerned or the Committee, as appropriate. The Clerk will make arrangements for an audiotape and transcript of the hearing to be made at the expense of the Court. The Chair of the Committee is empowered on behalf of the Court to administer oaths at hearings held pursuant to this Rule.
(3) In the event that the Committee believes that it is necessary to compel the testimony of a witness, the Committee will apply to the Chief Judge for the issuance of a subpoena pursuant to 38 U.S.C. § 7265(b).
(4) Any hearing will be kept confidential and will not be attended by Court personnel except where necessary for the purposes of security. Any audiotape or transcript made pursuant to this Rule will not be prepared by Court personnel. Any audiotape or transcript of such hearing will be maintained by the Clerk as the Court's liaison with the Committee, and will not be available to any other Court personnel prior to the submission of the Committee's report.
(f) Cooperation with Committee. It is the duty of the applicant or the practitioner concerned or his or her counsel to cooperate with the Committee. In the event of a failure of such cooperation, the Committee may include in its report to the Court any recommendation that it considers appropriate for the imposition of discipline for such failure.
(g) Report and Rebuttal. The Committee will mail to the practitioner concerned a copy of its report, with a notification that the practitioner concerned may submit, in accordance with subsection (d)(8) above and not later than 30 days after the date that the report is received by the practitioner concerned, a report rebuttal.
(h) Confidentiality. Except to the extent reasonably necessary to carry out its responsibilities and unless otherwise ordered by the Court, the Committee will treat in confidence all information relating to the referral of any matter to it.
(i) Expenses of Committee. The Court will make available to the Committee appropriate funds to cover the expenses of its operation in accordance with these rules. See 38 U.S.C. § 7285(b).