Defense Attorney
Halt | October 16, 2022 | 0 Comments

Conduct & Discipline: When Should You Call a Professional Misconduct Defense Attorney?

Many careers and vocations are governed by professional bodies, and they have a significant impact on the way you can operate. For example, the State Bar of California licenses and regulates defense attorneys to protect the public from unethical practices or damaging misconduct.

Although the California Bar plays a critical role in ensuring the legal profession remains committed to delivering ethical and competent legal services, there are times when investigations can be pursued without sufficient basis. Furthermore, some attorneys may find themselves being disciplined, even if they feel the allegations against them are wholly unfair or unsubstantiated.

How Common Are State Bar Complaints?

professional misconduct

There are approximately 190,000 licensed attorneys on active status in California and 15,715 cases were opened by the State Bar of California in 2021 alone. This means that around 8.3% of licensed California attorneys faced complaints or investigations in a 12-month period.

While it’s easy to assume that you’ll never have to deal with a State Bar complaint, it’s far more common than you may realize, and a significant number of attorneys are faced with these issues throughout their professional lives.

What Happens If a Complaint Is Made About You?

If a complaint is made to the State Bar regarding your conduct, it will be reviewed by a State Bar attorney who will determine whether an investigation is needed. If so, an investigator will be assigned to the complaint.

Although cases are often closed before an investigation is launched, more than 36% do proceed to the investigation stage. When misconduct is confirmed, the State Bar can either resolve the issue via alternative dispute resolution or file charges in the hope of settling the case. A settlement at this stage can include serious forms of sanctions, such as disbarment or suspensions.

Criminal Defense Attorney

However, if the case cannot be settled, it will proceed to trial and a judge will determine whether you should be disciplined and, if so, what form of discipline is appropriate. It’s important to consider the implications of a public trial on your standing and reputation, as well as the professional repercussions that can follow. Depending on the nature of the misconduct allegations, the matter could also be referred to law enforcement to determine whether criminal charges are also appropriate.

How to Deal with a State Bar Case

Given the serious consequences that can arise following a complaint to the State Bar, it’s vital to take action quickly if you are notified that a complaint has been made against you. With advice and assistance from a professional misconduct defense attorney, you can mitigate the impact of the complaint and argue your case to have the matter withdrawn.

Misconduct Defense Attorney

Alternatively, a professional misconduct defense attorney can help you to negotiate a settlement that won’t cause long-term damage to your career or reputation. With expertise in State Bar regulation, a specialist professional misconduct attorney can provide the advice and representation you need when facing these types of allegations.

Do You Need Help from a Defense Attorney?

Many attorneys assume that they can deal with any regulatory compliance matters themselves but, sadly, this can have negative consequences. In the same way that a real estate attorney wouldn’t represent a client in a criminal matter, why risk your own career by trying to represent yourself in a professional misconduct case?

By accessing advice and support from professional misconduct attorneys, you can get the objective, impartial and specialist help you need to resolve the matter as quickly, simply and efficiently as possible.

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