If you are dissatisfied with a lawyer’s work or lack of communication, you might want to report him to the bar. This is not always easy. It can also be a bit scary to do so, because you might feel as though you are undermining the lawyer’s ethical standing.
Depending on the circumstances, your complaint might go to Bar Counsel or a panel of prosecutors from the Attorney Grievance Commission (AGC). The AGC can investigate and prosecute ethics complaints against lawyers, but it must be able to establish clear and convincing evidence that the attorney violated the Rules of Professional Conduct or the State Bar Act.
The AGC can then impose disciplinary action on the attorney, from private reproval to disbarment. Depending on the severity of the violation, the AGC may choose to impose probation or restrict the lawyer’s practice for a set period of time.
When you do decide to file a complaint, the bar association or agency will ask that you keep your complaint confidential until it has been resolved. It may also ask that you not discuss it with anyone who knows about the matter, including the lawyer and the VSB. This confidentiality requirement is intended to protect the integrity of the disciplinary system and its investigations.
You may be able to resolve your problem with a referral from the bar association or through a program that is designed to help clients and their lawyers. For example, in Virginia the VSB has an ethics help line where clients and lawyers can speak to two public liaisons about their concerns or problems.
In other states, your first choice for dealing with this type of problem is to file a complaint with your state’s lawyer discipline agency. These agencies are generally responsible for disciplining attorneys who fail to pay money they owe, make egregious mistakes like not doing legal work that you paid for, commit crimes or have a drug abuse problem. Recommended this site workers compensation lawyer .
While many agencies have a slow pace and communicate poorly with people who file complaints, some actually move quickly and are more concerned about the damage that bad behavior can cause than compensating victims. It is therefore important to report your lawyer’s theft or thievery to these agencies as soon as possible, even if it is only in the form of a letter.
If you’re not sure if you should file a complaint, contact an experienced lawyer for advice. This will give you a better idea of what to expect, and what is the best way to proceed.
Usually, when you file a complaint with your state’s bar association or agency, you will be asked to submit a copy of the documents you are requesting. This includes any letters, email messages or other correspondence with the lawyer. It can also include anything else you think is relevant to the investigation of your complaint, such as documents from other cases in which your lawyer has been involved.
When you do decide to file a complaint, be sure to explain why you think the lawyer’s behavior was wrong and what you believe would be an appropriate response. Then, follow up with a meeting or call to discuss the matter in more detail.