How Can a Professional License Defense Lawyer Help You with a Case Before the SOAH

When you are a licensed professional, you are subject to specific laws and rules that govern your profession. As a result, your licensing board or agency monitors you and all individuals falling under its jurisdiction for compliance with those laws and rules. If you violate these rules or laws, you can face disciplinary proceedings, which, in turn, can lead to severe sanctions. These sanctions can include the suspension or revocation of your license, which can be devastating for your career. 

Contested cases before Texas licensing boards and agencies go before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH). By hiring a Texas licensing board defense lawyer to represent your interests before SOAH, you will be better positioned to handle the disciplinary proceedings against you. Retaining legal counsel will allow you to fight back more effectively against the potentially severe sanctions that you are facing and reach a positive result in your case. 

When facing disciplinary charges before your licensing agency or board, and you cannot resolve the charges informally by agreement, the SOAH must hear the case. The SOAH assigns an administrative law judge (ALJ) to the case to conduct an administrative hearing, which is like a court trial. However, it follows a different set of procedural rules. Therefore, having an attorney to represent your interests throughout the SOAH proceedings is likely to be highly advantageous to you. 

Stages of a Case Before a SOAH Hearing

A case goes through various stages before your administrative hearing occurs before an ALJ at the SOAH. A license defense attorney can be invaluable in helping you navigate through these stages, which can significantly impact the outcome of your hearing. 


During the discovery process, which takes place before court trials and before administrative hearings at the SOAH, the parties request and exchange information and documents with one another. Therefore, in a disciplinary proceeding, you can request any information and copies of documentary evidence from your licensing board, witnesses, or other relevant parties concerning your case. The licensing board can request the same information from you. 

The discovery process allows you to fully review and evaluate the evidence against you to prepare your defense better. You will know what to expect at your hearing and have all the information you need to prepare your case. 

Pre-Hearing Motions

Both parties can file various pre-hearing motions that the ALJ will decide before your administrative hearing begins. For example, you or your licensing board (or both) can file a motion for summary disposition. In this motion, the moving party argues that a hearing is unnecessary because, based on the existing evidence, the law requires a decision in that party’s favor. The other party then has a set number of days to respond to the motion for summary disposition.

The ALJ can also receive, hear, and decide any other motions the parties file before the administrative hearing. For instance, the parties may file motions concerning the admission or exclusion of evidence. The ALJ may or may not hold pre-trial hearings on these motions but, in any case, will issue rulings on these motions before the beginning of the administrative hearing. 


The parties can attempt to resolve contested disciplinary proceedings through mediation at the SOAH if they choose. Mediation is often preferable because it allows the parties to reach an acceptable agreement on both sides instead of ending up with an outcome neither party has chosen. Nonetheless, not all cases should or can be decided via mediation. A license defense attorney can advise you on whether mediation is a viable or reasonable option in your case and help you evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of any settlement offer that may arise during mediation. 

Going to the Administrative Hearing

Legal representation during your administrative hearing can be critical to a positive disposition in your case. Generally, administrative hearings before the SOAH proceed like a courtroom trial. Both parties can present their cases, produce evidence, and question each other’s witnesses.

Administrative hearings typically follow these steps:

  • Opening Statements: Your attorney and the attorney for the licensing board will each explain your respective positions in the case and summarize what they hope to prove to the ALJ by presenting their evidence. 
  • Presentation of Evidence: Each party will present evidence, such as witness testimony and documents, to prove their case. The licensing board will go first and try to prove its case. You then will have the chance to present evidence to defend yourself against the licensing board’s allegations. 
  • Witness Testimony: As part of the presentation of evidence, each party may call witnesses to testify under oath. Witnesses first answer questions from the party who called them to testify, and then the other party may ask them questions. 
  • Presentation of Exhibits: Each party may offer documents as evidence. In some cases, it may be necessary for a witness to testify to the authenticity or validity of the document to admit it into evidence. 
  • Making Objections: Any party may object to questions, testimony, or exhibits presented by the other party for various legal reasons. The ALJ will decide whether to sustain (grant) or overrule (deny) the objection. 
  • Closing Arguments: After both parties finish presenting their evidence, each party makes a closing argument to the ALJ. The closing argument summarizes each party’s evidence and explains why the ALJ should rule in that party’s favor.


Guiding a client through disciplinary proceedings before Texas licensing boards and agencies, mainly when facing contested cases, demands a strategic and informed approach. The involvement of the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) adds complexity to the process, necessitating thorough preparation and legal representation. Hiring a skilled Texas licensing board defense lawyer can significantly enhance your ability to navigate each stage of the proceedings effectively. From discovery to pre-hearing motions, mediation attempts, and ultimately, the administrative hearing, legal counsel provides invaluable support in crafting a robust defense strategy. With the assistance of an attorney, you can navigate the complexities of evidentiary procedures, witness testimonies, and legal arguments, ensuring that your case is presented comprehensively and persuasively before the administrative law judge. Ultimately, legal representation safeguards your interests and maximizes your chances of achieving a favorable outcome amidst challenging disciplinary proceedings.

Bertolino LLP: A Law Firm Who Stands Ready to Defend You Before Your Professional Licensing Board 

When disciplinary proceedings threaten your professional license, you should retain a seasoned Texas licensing board defense attorney to represent your interests. We can begin representing you as soon as you contact us about your disciplinary case. Contact the lawyers of Bertolino LLP today by calling (512) 515-9518 or visiting us online

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