When an attorney receives a formal complaint from the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office at the State Bar of Texas, that attorney needs to take fast action to protect his or her reputation and license to practice law. A complaint, even one found to be meritless, can adversely affect an attorney's legal career.
If you are a licensed attorney in Texas and facing a grievance from the Texas State Bar, you know that ignoring the complaint will cause you more harm. You know it is imperative that you face the misconduct or malpractice allegations head-on and from the start. Further, as an attorney you know that the best course of action is to hire a professional license defense attorney to represent you.
The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel
No Texas attorney wants to deal with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. The Texas attorney discipline system is administered by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (CDC). Essentially the CDC operates as the "Bar's Law Office," with 91 full-time employees, including 34 lawyers, 11 investigators, 31 legal support staff, 11 administrative support staff, and 4 administrative managers. The CDC represents the Commission for Lawyer Discipline in disciplinary litigation.
The Texas attorney discipline system is governed by the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, which define proper conduct for purposes of professional discipline, and the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, which provide the mechanism by which grievances are processed, investigated, and prosecuted.
Examples of attorney conduct that may violate the disciplinary rules include:
- The lawyer does not return client phone calls, emails, or letters.
- The lawyer failed to appear in court or has missed deadlines.
- The lawyer refuses to return a client's file after a request is made.
- The lawyer seems to have a substance abuse problem that affects his/her ability to practice.
- The lawyer has not paid the client's part of the settlement after the case has settled.
The foregoing list is provided by the Texas State Bar and is by no means exhaustive. As a fellow attorney, you understand the breadth and scope of the professional and ethical standards by which we must adhere.
Facing A Grievance from the Texas State Bar
Anyone may report allegations of professional misconduct or problems with a Texas attorney. A person does not have to be a client or former client to file a grievance with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the Texas State Bar.
As licensed attorneys we worked for many years to earn the privilege to practice law. It is frightening that a single complaint, even one lodged by someone who was never your client, has the potential to ruin your legal career and sully your reputation.
The Texas attorney grievance system cannot award damages, alter a decision made in a civil or criminal matter, substitute for civil or criminal remedies, force an attorney to proceed with a case, provide a client with another lawyer, provide legal advice, or solve a fee dispute. The grievance system can however lead to disciplinary action against your law license, including probation, suspension, or revocation.
The CDC is headquartered in Austin, with Regional Offices located in San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston. Each Regional Office is managed by a Regional Counsel and is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of Texas attorney disciplinary matters within its region. To best serve attorneys across the entire state, our firm has offices in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.
Our Firm is Prepared to Defend Your Law License
We are experienced Legal Malpractice Defense Attorneys. The results-driven lawyers at BERTOLINO LLP are well-versed in successfully dealing with formal complaints against Texas attorneys.
Our firm is prepared to defend your law license against claims of:
- Any claim for Legal Malpractice
- Violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty
- Lack of Due Diligence
- Abuse of Process
- Statute of Limitations Complaints or Missed Deadlines
- Conflicts of Interest
- Ineffective Assistance of Counsel
We are proud to be the lawyer's lawyer.
The fact that so many lawyers have trusted us to handle formal complaints with the State Bar of Texas or the Board of Law Examiners speaks volumes. We know that fellow-attorneys expect the highest standards of professionalism and care.
If you are facing a formal complaint against your law license, we understand how much is at stake. We invite you to meet with us for a case evaluation. You'll meet with one of our experienced Legal Malpractice Defense Attorneys to discuss the details of the allegations filed against you.
“Our law firm helps professionals, like you, keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by a state agency or board.” -Tony R. Bertolino, Managing Partner