You’ve worked hard to earn your license to practice law. Now it’s being threatened by a compliant that’s been levied against you with the State Bar. This might leave you on edge, especially if this is your first dealing with the disciplinary system. But before you engage in the disciplinary procedure, there are a few important things for you to keep in mind that may ease your stress. Here are just a few of them:
- You have a duty to cooperate: Under statute, you have a duty to cooperate with an investigation. Don’t mistake this to mean that you have to give up your right to defend yourself against these accusations. Also, don’t let that duty to cooperate force you to breach other ethical responsibilities, such as maintaining attorney-client privilege and protecting confidentiality. Breaching these duties could lead to legal action against you in both the civil and criminal courts.
- You have the ability to negotiate: When a complaint is made against you, it’ll be investigated thoroughly. If the State Bar feels like there’s sufficient evidence to show that you’ve breached an ethical obligation, then formal charges may be brought against you. Before these charges are litigated, though, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in an Early Neutral Evaluation Conference. Here, you can negotiate to try to reach some sort of settlement that protects your interests.
- You’ll have your day in court: If you can’t reach a settlement, then you’ll have the opportunity to litigate, and even appeal, your case. This means you’ll want to be armed with persuasive evidence that shows how the State has failed to meet its burden of proof.
Have an ally on your side
Disciplinary proceedings are highly specialized. As such, you may benefit from having a legal advocate on your side who understands the ins and outs of this area of the law. If that sounds appealing to you, then now is the time to contact a legal professional who can guide you through the process and fight to protect what you have worked so hard to obtain.