If you are a client and have recently become concerned about your lawyer's suitability for providing legal services, you may wish to file an official complaint. In this case, you need to acquire an attorney disciplinary complaint form and file it with the disciplinary board of your state's bar association.
The following are six possible situations that could warrant the filing of an attorney disciplinary complaint.
A lawyer has proven to be incompetent in representing you.
General incompetence is a valid reason to file an attorney disciplinary complaint form. If you have learned that your attorney has taken actions that don't show a basic level of competence in the practice of law, you should file an official complaint.
Clients who believe their lawyer showed incompetence can discuss their legal issue and attorney's actions with another attorney to get a second opinion. If the second attorney believes the first attorney's actions show incompetence, filing a complaint is important to save other clients from similar issues.
A lawyer has taken your money in situations where he or she was unauthorized to do so.
In many circumstances, lawyers handle client funds. In these situations, they are not permitted to use client funds for their own purposes.
If your attorney has stolen funds of yours that he or she was in control of, this is definitely grounds for disciplinary action by your state's bar association. You should file a complaint immediately upon learning that your attorney has taken funds from you.
A lawyer has charged you fees that are exorbitant.
Although there is some room for negotiation when it comes to legal fees, attorneys are expected to charge fees that are basically reasonable and comparable with what other attorneys are charging for similar services.
If you have learned that the fees you were charged were exorbitant, you can file a complaint about your attorney.
A lawyer has come into a conflict of interest in representing you.
Lawyers must avoid conflicts of interest. If you have learned that your attorney had a conflict of interest in representing you but offered services to you anyway, this is grounds for a complaint. A basic example of a conflict of interest would be an attorney representing two opposing sides in a lawsuit.
A lawyer has not communicated with you adequately or properly in regards to your legal matter.
Attorneys are expected to communicate key information about their clients' cases promptly. If your attorney has withheld information from you or not responded to your efforts to contact him or her, this is possibly grounds for disciplinary action.
A lawyer has not returned a document to you.
Your attorney should promptly return any of your documents that you request. If you decide you no longer wish to be represented by your attorney, your attorney should return your file. You should file a complaint if your attorney refuses to do so.