According to this article, the South Carolina Bar moved to electronically post disciplines of lawyers on its webstie for 75 years (of course, who knows if the web in its present form will be around by then). Some lawyers oppose this decision, arguing that it “creates a Scarlet Letter” for anyone who makes a mistake. But another lawyer argued that technical violations would not show because they don’t “go all the way.”
While I do believe that the bars often unfairly target solos, on balance, I support the online disclosure system. I do believe, however, that if the disciplinary action is posted that it should be accompanied by all of the attorney’s filings in his or her defense so that clients and other lawyers can arrive at their own judgment of whether the sanction was warranted. I’ve heard too many stories from colleagues who’ve referred cases to other lawyers only to discover that those lawyers had been suspended or disbarred. Making this information available can also spare lawyers from making negligent referrals.