Report an Attorney

As a consumer, complaints against attorneys can be made by filing it in writing. Complaint forms are available if desired. All filings must be signed by the complainant. There is no cost to file the complaint and the consumer does not have to be represented in order to file. All complaints are received and investigated by the four district offices of the Office of the Disciplinary Counsel. A counsel will evaluate whether there are any issues which could form the basis of a disciplinary inquiry. If the counsel needs further information, the consumer will be asked for that information, or the matter might be referred to a staff investigator who may review court records, contact parties with information, or contact the consumer for necessary information. The more documentation the consumer has, the more helpful it will be to understand the complaint. If you need help with legal terms, please refer to our list of terms commonly used in disciplinary procedures. The following have been found to be helpful in evaluating complaints, although not all will be available in all cases:

  • A complete history of the complainant’s dealings with the lawyer, including dates and purposes for which the lawyer was retained;
  • Copies of fee or retainer agreements or statements;
  • A listing of meetings or conferences with the lawyer, with dates where possible;
  • Mention of any legal proceedings in which the lawyer is involved, including the court in which the case is filed and the names of parties to the case;
  • Copies of letters, faxes, e-mails, and other correspondence that relates to the subject of the complaint;
  • Copies of pleadings and legal documents in the complainant’s possession;
  • Copies of any billings or statements received from the lawyer;
  • Copies of canceled checks or receipts for any payments made to the lawyer; and
  • Copies of settlement distribution statements, HUD-1 forms, accountings, and other documents summarizing the disposition of money.

When counsel concludes that the investigation is complete, either the complaint may be dismissed (with the agreement of a second counsel), or the lawyer may be put on notice of the complaint and given the opportunity to respond by a formal letter.

If counsel believes that there are violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct after receiving the lawyer’s response and completing the investigation, counsel may submit a recommendation for discipline through a review process established by the Rules of Disciplinary Enforcement. This process may result in one of three outcomes:

  • Dismissal of the complaint;
  • The imposition of private discipline on the lawyer; or
  • The filing of a formal disciplinary proceeding, which usually involves a hearing on the case. You may be asked to testify at the hearing.