Constitutional Law–The Right to a Jury Trial in Disbarment Proceedings

Lawyers in the United States have long been considered officers of the court, subject to examination for good moral character and adequate education in law before admission to the bar. They have also been subject to summary proceedings for disbarment whenever they have deviated from accepted standards of conduct embodied in various codes of professional ethics. Although the specific grounds for disbarment vary from state to state and between federal and state courts, one thing is clear: in the absence of a specific statutory provision there traditionally has been no right to a jury trial in disbarment proceedings. Since the requirements of due process are currently undergoing re-examination, and since this particular question has arisen in a number of recent cases, this Note shall examine the traditional policy in light of recent Supreme Court decisions.