If you think your lawyer has been unfair to you or your case, you can report him to the Bar Association for an ethics violation. All lawyers are required to abide by a certain code of ethics that governs their professional conduct. Although most lawyers adhere to these standards, each state has appointed a Disciplinary Council to investigate ethical violations as they occur. The attorney not only investigates consumer complaints, but also takes appropriate action against the accused attorney.
Valid reasons to report a lawyer
The following are some valid reasons on which you can file your complaint:
1) Misrepresentation of your case in court
2) Improper billing, insufficient funds, or other fee disputes
3) Failure of the lawyer to return the documents of your case
4) Lawyer’s Failure to Maintain Your Confidentiality
5) Misuse of your property or personal data
6) Conflict of interest
7) Violation of professional ethics by the lawyer
8) Lack of proper communication
Bar Association Reporting Process
To report an attorney for an ethics violation, you must file a complaint, clearly stating a valid reason, with the Disciplinary Board of the state in which your attorney is licensed. To file a complaint, you can choose any of the following options:
1) Write a detailed letter, clearly stating the attorney’s name, contact details, the case the attorney was hired for, and a description of the problem you faced.
2) Complete all the information required in a general form made available by the State Bar Association.
3) File your complaint through the hotline. However, this facility is available only in certain states.
In all cases, you will be required to submit valid proof and other documentation with your letter or form.
How is the complaint reviewed?
Once your complaint is filed, it is reviewed by a board of attorneys and not attorneys. If the complaint is found to be valid and substantiated, its copy is sent to the attorney in question along with a notice, requesting that they respond to the complaint within 10 to 25 days. After the attorney responds, you will be given an opportunity to comment on the response. In the event that you are not satisfied with the response, you may request that an investigation be initiated. If you are able to provide enough evidence to prove your claim, the case will remain open until resolved. However, if no evidence of an ethics violation is found, the board may dismiss your case.
Therefore, before reporting an attorney to the Bar Association for ethics violations, it is best to review your own complaint and gather enough evidence to prove your claim.