When you face a disciplinary complaint against your professional or occupational license, you need legal assistance. Even if the complaint is completely without merit, you must take it seriously. A single complaint can derail your career and livelihood if it results in sanctions against your license. Therefore, you should not hesitate to contact a Texas license defense attorney as soon as you receive notice of a complaint.
Preparing to Meet with Your License Defense Lawyer
The first step to getting legal representation in your license disciplinary proceedings is to meet with your licensing defense attorney. Before your meeting, you should take some steps to prepare for your meeting. Taking these steps will help you have a more productive meeting and allow your lawyer to understand your case better.
- Gather all written documentation related to your case. For example, if you are a medical professional, gather your patient file, medical records, billing records, and any other documentation related to the complaint at issue. Likewise, if you face an occupational complaint, compile a file with all written documentation about the customer, any work you or your employees performed for the customer, and any bills you sent.
- Write a narrative of everything you can remember about the incident that led to the complaint. Be as specific as possible, including dates, times, and names of people you interacted with or your office staff who interacted with the complainant. Even the smallest detail may be important, so do your best to include everything you can remember.
- List all potential witnesses who may have information related to the complaint, including your office staff, other patients or customers, and third parties. Give their names, contact information, and your assessment of whether they would be willing to provide testimony in your case.
- Compile all documents you have received from your licensing board concerning your complaint. In addition, if you have faced previous discipline for any reason, also bring any documentation that you have regarding your previous disciplinary history, as that can impact potential penalties that you receive in a subsequent disciplinary case.
- Make a list of questions for your lawyer. If you have never been involved in disciplinary proceedings or investigation before, you will have questions about the process. For instance, you may want to know what to expect as the investigation progresses, how to respond to the complaint, the timeframes for your case to be resolved, and potential penalties and sanctions that you could face. Making a list of these questions in advance helps prevent you from forgetting to ask important questions during your meeting with your attorney.
Although you likely will find it tempting to do so, you should generally not disclose any information about the complaint or its contents to your staff or colleagues except as is necessary. Of course, you may have a duty to report the existence of a complaint to your insurance carrier, particularly if you work in a profession in which you carry malpractice insurance. Likewise, if you are employed by an entity or in partnership with one or more other individuals, you may need to report the complaint to the appropriate personnel.
However, it would be best if you generally refrained from discussing the complaint’s substance or any allegations against you with staff or coworkers. Even if they are sympathetic to you or view them as being on your side, they are likely subject to interrogation and even the subpoena power of your licensing board. Moreover, if they have negative information about your case, they may be compelled to disclose it. In addition, if you inadvertently admit to a violation of the law or the rules that apply to your profession, your licensing board may discover that information.
Only your conversations and written communications with your lawyer are confidential and privileged, meaning that your licensing board cannot access them. However, any conversations, text messages, emails, or other correspondence with coworkers, family members, or friends is discoverable by the licensing board and potentially may be used against you in your disciplinary proceedings. Therefore, it is best to say as little as possible about your situation except when speaking to your attorney.
Being a Good Client
Having a solid license defense attorney on your side from the outset of your disciplinary proceedings can be critical to a positive outcome in your case. However, being a good client also is an essential step in building a defense to the allegations against you.
After your initial meeting with your lawyer, they will likely ask you for additional documentation and information that you may not already have provided. It would help if you were prompt and diligent about providing that information; in many cases, that information may be more easily accessible to you than to your lawyer. Likewise, the lawyer would not request the information if they did not think it would be useful in your case.
Similarly, you should always follow your lawyer’s advice in handling your disciplinary proceedings. Your lawyer has handled disciplinary proceedings like yours before and knows what to expect, whereas you may not. Therefore, following the lawyer’s advice is more likely to put you in a better position to get good results in your case. Likewise, disregarding your lawyer’s advice could directly jeopardize the outcome of your case and put you in a worse position than you were in before.
Protect Your License by Getting Legal Representation Today
If you face disciplinary proceedings before your professional licensing board or agency, you could be at risk of losing your license. You will need assistance to defend your license right away in this situation. Take the steps necessary to protect your license from these potentially severe consequences at all costs. At Bertolino LLP, we offer experienced professional license defense services for individuals involved in various professions. Contact us today by calling (512) 515-9518 or reaching out to us online. We can examine your case and help you devise the legal strategy that is best designed to safeguard your professional license.