Ohio Lawyers Talk About the Graying of the Profession
The impact on the legal profession in Ohio as lawyers age was the focus of the 2013 Miller-Becker Seminar, an annual educational seminar held today in Akron for professionals involved in the disciplinary process.
In opening remarks, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor noted that while the court does not keep official records of the number of aging lawyers who have been disciplined, there appears to have been an increase in the past five years. She raised the question about setting minimum standards for lawyers as they age.
“I supported the state issue in 2011 that would have raised the mandatory retirement age for judges because I don’t think there should be any arbitrary age limit at all. The age limit on service for judges and lawyers should vary by individual and be based solely on his or her ability,” Chief Justice O’Connor said.
According to statistics from the Ohio Supreme Court Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, the top five disciplinary problems in Ohio have remained consistent since 2008:
- Neglect / failure to protect client’s interest
- Failure to maintain funds in trust
- Excessive fees
- Personal misconduct
- Failure to account or turn over file / judicial misconduct
At today’s seminar, lawyers from around the state who represent colleagues in disciplinary cases, bar counsel, and members of certified grievance committees also heard from representatives of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline about recent disciplinary rule amendments and board opinions. Other topics included a review of standards and practices on file retention, inventory, and disposal, and a presentation from a physician who specializes in geriatric medicine on age-related cognitive impairment.
The Miller-Becker Seminar is sponsored by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, The University of Akron School of Law Miller-Becker Center for Professional Responsibility, and the Ohio State Bar Association.