The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that an attorney discipline hearing cannot be closed to the public without good reason.
The rare Friday decision says the Disciplinary Hearing Panel can only close a pending hearing involving a St. Louis attorney if the panel can show "good cause." The discipline panel previously issued a blanket order closing the proceedings, which was challenged by Missouri Lawyers Media.
The Supreme Court said its ruling was the first interpreting a new court rule setting guidelines for when disciplinary hearings can be confidential.
St. Louis attorney Ben Lipman represented Missouri Lawyers Media. He says the decision will help ensure future proceedings are not closed inappropriately.
Missouri Court Makes Lawyer Discipline Hearing Public