Toombs Judicial District Attorney Dennis Sanders was recently elected to chair the Investigative Panel of the State Bar Disciplinary Board for 2006-2007.
The Investigative Panel is composed of 22 attorneys and six non-attorney members. The Supreme Court of Georgia appointed Mr. Sanders in 2004 to the committee and the panel members elected Sanders to chair the committee at their July meeting in Cedartown, Ga.
It is the duty of the Investigative Panel to protect the general public and to administer discipline to an attorney when that attorney acts in an unethical manner.
Discipline can vary from a confidential letter of admonition to an Investigative Reprimand by Investigative Panel Chairman Sanders to a recommendation for disbarment in the most serious cases.
"It is an honor to be selected by the Supreme Court to serve our profession in this manner and certainly an honor to be elected Chairperson by my fellow Panel members," Mr. Sanders said.
Mr. Sanders also said the Investigative Panel is the hardest-working and most time-consuming panel on which he has served.
The panel meets once a month and will consider 25 to 30 cases each session.
The Investigative Panel had to take action in 356 cases last year.
"An allegation of unprofessional conduct against an attorney is a serious matter and we take our duty very seriously," Mr. Sanders said. "Lawyers are human. Sometimes even the most conscientious attorneys make mistakes. However when they do, it is our duty to take disciplinary action when those mistakes breach our rules of ethical conduct."
Mr. Sanders points with pride to the State Bar's Disciplinary procedures, adding that he knows of no other profession that governs itself in the strict manner that attorneys do.
Georgia now has approximately 31,000 attorneys that are members of the Bar in Georgia.
"Every one of the men and women worked hard to be a member of this profession, and we want to maintain the highest standards possible for the profession that is the backbone of our society," he said.