The Advisory Committee & Legal Ethics Counsel


Advisory Committee & Office of Legal Ethics Counsel

The Supreme Court of Missouri appoints the members of the Advisory Committee pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.01. The Advisory Committee consists of no fewer than nine lawyers and three nonlawyers. Members of the Advisory Committee serve without compensation but are reimbursed for reasonable and necessary expenses.  The Advisory Committee acts in accordance with its responsibilities as provided by the Supreme Court of Missouri in Rules 4, 5, and 6.

In order to protect the public from persons unqualified or unauthorized to practice law, the Supreme Court of Missouri has established a lawyer disciplinary system. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel and the Regional Disciplinary Committees investigate complaints of professional misconduct.

The Advisory Committee has responsibilities under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5 regarding disciplinary hearing panel proceedings prior to a matter being filed in the Supreme Court of Missouri.  For more information, please see “Public Information on Cases Pending Before A Disciplinary Hearing Panel.”

Pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.30, the Advisory Committee may give formal opinions and the Legal Ethics Counsel may give nonbinding informal advisory opinions, interpreting Missouri Supreme Court Rules 4, 5, and 6, to Missouri lawyers.  (For links to formal opinions, informal advisory opinions, information on requesting formal opinions or informal advisory opinions, and other ethics resources, see the “For Lawyers” menu on this page.)

The Advisory Committee may review lawyer complaint files that have been closed after investigation by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel or a regional disciplinary committee, at the request of the complainant, pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 5.11.

The Advisory Committee may approve financial institutions to hold client trust accounts pursuant to Missouri Rule of Professional Conduct 4-1.145(a)(2) and maintains a list of IOLTA approved financial institutions.

The Advisory Committee may waive penalties and past due enrollment fees upon proof satisfactory that any delinquency was caused by reason of physical or mental incapacity to engage in the practice of law. Missouri Supreme Court Rule 6.01(h).

The Legal Ethics Counsel serves as counsel and staff for the Advisory Committee.

Members of the Advisory Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, are: Dorothy White-Coleman, Chair, St. Louis; Jill A. Kanatzar, Vice-Chair, Kansas City; David W. Ansley, Springfield; John Jay Benson, Kirksville; Sheryl Butler, St. Louis; Keith A. Cutler, Kansas City; Levell D. Littleton, Clayton; Elizabeth D. McCarter, St. Louis; Dan R. Nelson, Springfield; Dale Siebeneck, Jefferson City; Kirby Upjohn, Kansas City; and the Legal Ethics Counsel is Melinda J. Bentley.