Every Texas attorney knows well that the standards of our profession are strict—and rightly so. And yet sometimes an attorney will either run afoul of them or be inappropriately charged with having done so. When this occurs—and the allegations charge misconduct—the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas is dispatched to investigate and, potentially, to discipline the attorney with measures up to and including revocation of their license to practice law.
The Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct contain a provision on misconduct at Rule 8.04(a), which require that a lawyer not:
- violate these rules, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another, whether or not the violation occurred in the course of a client-lawyer relationship;
- commit a serious crime or commit any other criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyers honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;
- engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;
- engage in conduct constituting obstruction of justice;
- state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official;
- knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law;
- violate any disciplinary or disability order or judgment;
- fail to timely furnish to the Chief Disciplinary Counsels office or a district grievance committee a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, unless he or she in good faith timely asserts a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so;
- engage in conduct that constitutes barratry as defined by the law of this state;
- fail to comply with section 13.01 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure relating to notification of an attorneys cessation of practice;
- engage in the practice of law when the lawyer is on inactive status, except as permitted by section 81.053 of the Government Code and Article XIII of the State Bar Rules, or when the lawyers right to practice has been suspended or terminated, including, but not limited to, situations where a lawyer’s right to practice has been administratively suspended for failure to timely pay required fees or assessments or for failure to comply with Article XII of the State Bar Rules relating to Mandatory Continuing Legal Education; or
- violate any other laws of this state relating to the professional conduct of lawyers and to the practice of law.
Any attorney charged with violating any of these rules should seek a professional license defense attorney to stand by their side through the entire process. We, attorneys, know how difficult it can be to see one’s own situation clearly when under stress—and that this is one of the things that makes our profession so valuable. The old adage “a man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client” applies doubly to attorneys, who should certainly know better.
Our law firm helps attorneys like you keep their licenses when those licenses are under attack by the Texas State Bar.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents attorneys under fire across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients, we have offices in Austin, Houston, and San Antonio. If you are facing disciplinary action, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.