Bar Grievance Defense
Our St. Augustine Florida Bar grievance defense lawyers can help you appropriately defend your bar complaint. As former committee members and chairs of the Florida Grievance Committee #7B, our attorneys have experience on both sides of grievance matters and how the process works. The local grievance committee #7B is one of two committees that handle seventh circuit complaints. A list of the current members and brief explanation of this committee can be found at The Florida Bar Website.
If you have received correspondence from Florida Bar counsel regarding a bar complaint against you, then you need to take swift and thorough action. The Bar does not penalize you or make any assumptions as to the veracity of the complaint if you “lawyer up”. However, without counsel, you may inadvertently end up making your situation worse without guidance from a lawyer who understands the process. We recommend that you obtain legal counsel as soon as you can in the process. Do not wait because you think the complaint does not have merit and will go away on its own. If you are required to respond, then it must be taken seriously. Failure to respond to the Florida Bar inquiry is itself a violation of Florida Bar Rule 4-8.4(g). We all know the saying that “a lawyer who represents himself/herself has a fool for a client,” and this is definitely no exception.
If you receive a complaint, our Florida Bar grievance defense attorneys in St. Augustine would prefer to assist with the initial response. Once you file your response, then the bar counsel will review the information provided and decide how to move forward. At that point, the bar counsel can decide to close the file, request more information, or forward the file to his or her grievance committee to be investigated further. A grievance committee is comprised of both lawyers and nonlawyer members, and usually there are two members assigned to each file to investigate. After the investigating members conduct an investigation, they present their findings to the committee for a vote to determine whether there is probable cause showing that you violated the rules of professional conduct and discipline is warranted. There are several possible outcomes at the committee level that do not end with a finding of probable cause and which do not become public record. These alternative outcomes include a letter of advice, diversion, or a finding of no probable cause without any further action. A letter of advice is a letter from the Florida Bar attorney that often gives feedback on what should have been handled differently and how to handle such situations in the future better. A finding of no probable cause means that the committee voted that no action was needed at all and that there is no probably cause to demonstrate a violation of the rules. Diversion is an agreement entered into by the attorney to complete multiple tasks, and once all tasks are completed, then the matter is resolved. There are many different tasks that can be included in a diversion contract, including CLEs, completion of certain programs with the Florida Bar, etc. If the committee does find probable cause and the case if filed, then the disciplinary outcomes could include a finding of misconduct, a public reprimand, suspension, or disbarment.
Having representation sooner than later in this process can be absolutely key. Please do not wait to get a neutral opinion of your complaint. No matter what phase you are in at this point, please call us today at (904) 829-3035 to set your consultation to review your grievance matter with our St. Augustine Florida Bar grievance defense lawyers.