Attorneys do their best to ensure justice on behalf of their clients. However, as with any profession, questions about conduct may arise.
Imagine an individual who felt as though ethical violations factored into the handling of their case. Filing a grievance may initiate a disciplinary process to address the quality of their representation.
Five steps involved in the formal complaint process
The specific details of a grievance filed against you could vary depending on the circumstances. General procedures following a filing include:
- A regulatory and/or committee review. This may involve requesting additional information about the allegations against you to help determine whether there is sufficient basis to launch an investigation.
- Attorney notification. If merit determines moving forward with a formal investigative process, you will receive documentation about the complaint in effect and your right to respond.
- Evidence gathering. Those tasked with conducting an investigation may review documents, interview witnesses or obtain expert opinions about the legitimacy of the grievance.
- Disciplinary proceedings. The initiation of a formal disciplinary proceeding may follow a finding of misconduct. This could involve an opportunity to present – and support – your case.
- Action-based decisions. If you are found to have engaged in misconduct, potential consequences may range from a private reprimand or censure to more severe sanctions, such as suspension or disbarment.
Regardless of your professional accolades and experience, removing the emotional influence of personal involvement in a case is often difficult. Why put your professional license, and possibly your livelihood, in peril by trying to handle matters independently?
Consider how you might counsel a client facing a similar challenge. You will likely want representation to help you minimize damages in your case.