If you feel your attorney has been unfair with you or your case, you can report him/her to the Bar Association for ethics violation. All the lawyers are required to abide by a certain code of ethics that directs their professional conduct. Although most attorneys hold on to these standards, a Disciplinary Counsel has been appointed by every state to investigate the ethics violations as and when they occur. The counsel not only investigates consumer complaints, but also takes appropriate action against the accused attorney.
Valid Reasons to Report an Attorney
Following are a few valid reasons on the basis of which you can file your complaint:
1) Misrepresentation of your case in the court
2) Inappropriate billing, missing funds, or other fee disputes
3) Failure of the attorney to return your case documents
4) Failure of the lawyer to maintain your confidentiality
5) Misuse of your property or personal details
6) Conflicting interests
7) Violation of professional ethics by the lawyer
8) Failure to communicate properly
Process of Reporting to the Bar
In order to report an attorney for ethics violation, you are required to file a complaint, clearly stating a valid reason, to the Disciplinary Counsel of the state in which your attorney is licensed. In order to file a complaint, you can choose any one of the following options:
1) Write a detailed letter, stating clearly the lawyer’s name, contact details, the case for which the lawyer was hired, and a description of the problem you faced.
2) Fill out all the required details in a general form made available by the Bar Association of the state.
3) Fill your complaint via hotline. However, this facility is available only in a few states.
In all the cases, you would be required to submit valid proof and other documentation along with your letter or form.
How is the Complaint Reviewed?
Once your complaint is filed, it is reviewed by a board of lawyers and non-lawyers. If the complaint is found to be valid and justified, its copy is sent to the attorney in question along with a notice, requesting him/her to respond to the complaint within 10-25 days. After the lawyer responds, you would be given a chance to comment on the response. In case you are not satisfied with the response, you may well request an investigation to be initiated. If you manage to provide enough evidence to prove your claim, the case will remain open until solved. However, if no evidence of ethics violation is found, your case can be dismissed by the board.
Thus, before reporting a lawyer to the Bar for ethics violation, it is better to review your own complaint and collect enough evidence to prove your claim.