7. Grievance Commission, Procedures and Discipline

(a) Term. Initial members of the Grievance Commission shall serve as follows: 3 of its members (one lay person and two attorneys) shall be appointed for a term of 4 years; 3 of its members (one lay person and two attorneys) for a term of 3 years; 3 of its members (one lay person and two attorneys) for a term of 2 years; and 3 of its members (one lay person and two attorneys) for a term of 1 year. Appointments thereafter shall be for terms of 4 years. No member shall be appointed to more than 2 consecutive full terms but a member appointed for less than a full term (originally or to fill a vacancy) may serve two full terms in addition to such part of a full term, and a former member shall again be eligible for appointment after a lapse of one year. The Board shall appoint the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Grievance Commission each year from among the members of the Commission.

(b) Quorum and Action by Panels.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subdivision, a quorum shall exist for the purposes of the Commission's exercise of its authority and duties when a majority of its members are present. The concurrence of a majority of such members present shall be sufficient for any action taken.

(2) The Commission shall be divided by its Chair or Vice Chair into panels of three members each, one of whom in each panel shall be a lay member, to sit and act for the Grievance Commission in the exercise of the authority and duties of the Commission. The Chair or Vice Chair shall designate one member of each panel as Panel Chair, or Acting Chair, as needed. The Grievance Commission panels shall be separately designated and assigned to perform their functions under Rules 7.1(d), (e) on a rotating basis approved by the Chair or Vice Chair.

(3) On a rotating basis with lay members of the Board, lay members of the Commission shall review matters submitted under Rule 7.1(c)(1).

(4) In the event of unavailability of any of the named panel members, the Chair, Vice Chair or a designated Board staff member may assign other members of the Commission to serve on a panel at a preliminary review or public disciplinary proceeding.

(5) If in agreement as to disposition, a majority of two panel members, one of whom being the lay member, may act for the panel on matters considered at a preliminary review, due to reasons of conflict or disqualification of the other panel member.

(6) One attorney member and one lay member of a panel may conduct a public disciplinary proceeding for the panel with the consent of both Bar Counsel and the respondent attorney.

(7) After reasonable notice to all members of the Grievance Commission, or to all members of one of its respective panels, as applicable, and with the consent of all participating members therein, a meeting of the Grievance Commission or a preliminary review by one of its respective panels may be duly constituted and action taken by means of a conference call or similar communications equipment enabling all members participating to hear one another.

(c) Authority and Duties. Panels of the Commission:

(1) shall review and may approve or modify recommendations to it by Bar Counsel for dismissals, dismissals with warnings, and public disciplinary proceedings by Commission panels to consider the issuance of public reprimands or the institution of formal charges;

(2) shall conduct public disciplinary proceedings on charges of misconduct and make findings and issue recommendations with respect thereto; may issue public reprimands for attorney misconduct; and, in any case where discipline of an attorney by the court is found to be required, shall direct Bar Counsel to file an information with the court; and

(3) shall have such other powers, authority and duties not inconsistent with these Rules, as shall be delegated or granted by the Board.

(d) Board Jurisdiction. Any authority or duty of the Grievance Commission or a panel thereof may at any time be assumed and acted upon by the Board on its own motion or at the direction of the Court. The Board may adopt or modify any action recommended directly to it by Bar Counsel or by the Grievance Commission, or direct that a proceeding be instituted before the Grievance Commission.

(e) Procedure [Abrogated].