As professionals, attorneys are held to certain standards. Among these are duties for ethical behavior and professional competence. When a lawyer violates these standards, they are subject to discipline. That is why it is not only possible, but also essential for you to file a complaint against an attorney in the event of professional misconduct.
Each state has a bar association or similar organization that is empowered to discipline attorneys. The purpose of such discipline is to prevent the misconduct from happening again. Moreover, the disciplinary system helps to set standards for attorney behavior. However, these disciplinary actions are usually not meant to redress damages to the complainant. If the complainant was in some way damaged by their attorney, then they should also seek remedies by hiring another attorney to explore whether or not to take the matter to civil court.
Most people will only hire legal counsel on the rarest of occasions. Additionally, legal matters tend to be surrounded by very emotional issues. This combination of unfamiliarity and an emotionally charged atmosphere can lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. Accordingly, it’s critical to understand that disciplinary action is not always deemed appropriate by the bar association. While you may be unhappy with the results of your case or feel that your attorney did not defend you as vigorously as possible, it does not necessarily mean that the lawyer behaved improperly or unethically. That is a matter for the bar association to decide.
Making a Complaint
However, you can do your part by filing a complaint with the bar association. Frequently, you can find appropriate instructions on your state’s bar association website. Some bar associations provide a form that can be completed and submitted while others ask that you write a letter stating the facts of your complaint. Having your signature notarized and sending in copies of any documents that support your complaint are both good ideas. Because the procedure for filing a complaint varies from state to state, it’s important to carefully review the instructions on the website. It may also be a good idea to call the bar association with any questions before submitting your paperwork.
Lawyers are held to high standards of professional competency and conduct. If you believe an attorney has violated these standards, then filing a complaint is an essential first step toward resolving the matter.