5. Bar Counsel

(a) Qualifications. Bar Counsel shall be admitted to the Bar of this State and a full-time employee of the Board. Bar Counsel shall not be otherwise engaged in the practice of law, directly or indirectly, while so employed. As used anywhere in the Bar Rules, the term Bar Counsel includes any Deputy Bar Counsel, Assistant Bar Counsel or special counsel approved by the Court under Bar Rule 4(d)(1) for such appointment.

(b) Duties; Grievance.

(1) Investigation. Bar Counsel shall investigate all matters involving alleged misconduct by an attorney subject to these rules.

(2) Disposition. Bar Counsel shall dispose of all matters involving alleged misconduct by an attorney in accordance with these rules and such additional rules and regulations as may be issued by the Board.

(3) Appeal. Bar Counsel may appeal to the Board from action of the Grievance Commission if inconsistent with Bar Counsel's recommendations.

(4) Prosecution. Bar Counsel shall prosecute all disciplinary proceedings before the Grievance Commission, the Board, and the Court.

(5) Hearings. Bar Counsel shall appear at hearings conducted with respect to motions for reinstatement by suspended or disbarred attorneys, with full rights to participate as a party.

(c) Duties; Other. Bar Counsel shall perform such administrative and professional services as the Board may request on behalf of itself, the Fee Arbitration Commission or the Professional Ethics Commission.

(d) Records. Bar Counsel shall permanently retain all orders, reports and letters imposing any sanction against an attorney and all reports on decisions issued after any disciplinary hearing, as well as all fee awards and dismissal orders in matters docketed with the Fee Arbitration Commission, and all petitions, orders, decisions or reports concerning petitions for reinstatement. Initial complaints shall be retained for 10 years from the final disposition date in all disbarment, suspension or resignation matters, and for 6 years from the final disposition date in all other grievance complaints heard or reviewed that resulted in any other disposition except dismissal. Petitions for fee disputes that proceed to hearing with an award being issued by the Fee Arbitration Commission shall be retained for 6 years from the date of the award. After 2 years from the final disposition date, Bar Counsel shall expunge all file documents or other evidence of the existence of grievance complaints dismissed pursuant to either Rule 7.1(c), 7.1(d)(3), 7.1(e)(3)(A), 7.2(b)(5) or fee petitions dismissed pursuant to Rule 9. Such expungement of records shall also occur 1 year after the date of the death of an attorney having any record of grievance complaints. Notwithstanding any required expungement of documents, the Board shall permanently maintain a summary of all docketed complaint matters processed by Bar Counsel containing the name of the complainant and respondent-attorney, the disposition, and the respective dates the matter was opened and closed. After a complaint file has been so expunged, any Board response to an inquiry from the complainant or respondent will be that the file contents have been expunged and only non-substantive docketing and disposition information has been retained; any Board response to any other inquiry about the matter shall state that there is no public record of such matter.

(e) Delegation. Bar Counsel may delegate any duties or functions to any duly appointed deputy or assistant counsel acting under Bar Counsel's general supervision.

(f) Matters Referred by the Attorney General. Bar Counsel shall keep the Attorney General informed of the result of all investigations, and any action taken thereon, relating to any matter referred to either the Board or Bar Counsel by the Attorney General.

(g) Immunity. Bar Counsel, any Deputy Bar Counsel, Assistant Bar Counsel, special counsel and the Board’s staff shall be immune from liability for any conduct in the course of their official duties under any provision of the Maine Bar Rules.