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Delaware Docket Newsletter
Fall 2012

New Chief Disciplinary Counsel Appointed

"It is an honor to serve as Chief Disciplinary Counsel," Ms. Aaronson stated about her new position. "I hope to earn the public's trust and confidence in addressing concerns about lawyers' professional conduct. While I am committed to the public interest and cognizant of the importance of public confidence in the Bar, I am also sensitive to the tremendous impact prosecution by the ODC has on the personal and professional lives of individual members of the Bar. I hope to be a resource for the Bench and Bar to prevent professional misconduct, while I will also strive to address misconduct fairly and effectively to protect the public interest and integrity of the profession."

Members of the public seeking redress for an attorney's misconduct will have a new Chief Disciplinary Counsel to assist them. Jennifer-Kate Aaronson, Esquire, was appointed by the Delaware Supreme Court as Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC). Before joining the ODC, Ms. Aaronson was the founder and managing partner of Aaronson & Collins, LLC where she practiced personal injury and criminal defense work with a focus on death penalty trials and appellate work. She graduated cum laude from Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware.

The ODC assists the Delaware Supreme Court in regulating the practice of law and addresses hundreds of complaints filed against lawyers admitted to the practice of law in Delaware. Complaints are confidential. The complaints are evaluated to determine whether the ODC has jurisdiction and whether the complaint on its face raises a reasonable inference of misconduct or incapacity. If a reasonable inference is raised, the ODC will gather more information to determine whether to proceed with a formal investigation. The ODC has jurisdiction over former and current attorneys admitted to practice in Delaware, as well as attorneys admitted in other jurisdictions, who practice or offer legal advice in Delaware. Some of the grounds on which an attorney can be sanctioned include the failure to abide by Delaware's Rules of Professional Conduct, judicial or attorney discipline in another jurisdiction, and failing to appear before the ODC when required. The ODC has a variety of disciplinary sanctions that it can request be imposed, including limitation on practice, restitution, probation, public reprimand, suspension and, in the most severe of cases, disbarment. Further information on the ODC's role and function can be found in The Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Disciplinary Procedure available online at the ODC's website /odc/.