If a grievance against a lawyer involves less serious misconduct as defined in Rule 6.2 of the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC), disciplinary counsel may refer the lawyer to diversion. A diversion referral begins with an evaluation by Diversion Administrator Dan Crystal, Psy.D. The diversion evaluation includes an assessment of the programs or corrective actions that will best address the lawyer’s misconduct. If the lawyer decides to participate in diversion, the lawyer must sign a confidential diversion affidavit describing the misconduct that led to the grievance and sign a diversion contract.
Diversion contracts typically are active for up to two years. Terms may include law office management consultation, ethics consultation, counseling, attendance at WSBA’s Ethics School, and taking CLE in specified focus areas. The terms vary for each contract. Successful completion of the diversion contract results in dismissal of the grievance. There is no public record. If the lawyer fails to complete the contract, the grievance is reinstated and it may result in public disciplinary action.
One of the first such programs in the country, diversion has been an option under the ELC since 2002. Since then, 340 lawyers have been diverted from discipline. An average of 55 lawyers participate in diversion at any given time. The memo Diversion Evaluation, Terms, and Costs has additional information for lawyers.
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