When an attorney breaks ethical rules of professional conduct, they can face disciplinary proceedings in Pennsylvania. In most cases, small firm practitioners receive a high number of client complaints. Although attorneys can appeal disciplinary decisions, there are various steps a lawyer can take to avoid disciplinary proceedings. Our Philadelphia and New Jersey professionals license defense lawyers explain what you can do to avoid the disciplinary process.
If you face disciplinary proceedings and you fear that you will lose your license to practice law, contact our Philadelphia professional license defense attorneys today at (610) 550-8042!
Implement Strong Management Procedures
A great way to avoid attorney disciplinary proceedings is to ensure that you have the ability to meet client’s needs and develop a strong management system to avoid disciplinary charges. A good way to do this is by consulting with a law practice management advisor or find online resources from the ABA Law Practice Division. Avoiding lost files, unanswered calls, poor bookkeeping, and missed court dates will help you avoid getting disciplinary action or losing your license. Since clients often file complaints about legal fees, keeping a detailed billing record is important.
Learning Which Cases to Accept & Reject
It is important to understand that you are not required to accept every potential case. If you don’t have experience in a certain practice area or the potential client is requesting something dishonest, you should consider rejecting the case. Knowing when to reject cases can avoid headaches and complaint letters from the board.
When accepting a client, you should set clear expectations of the representation and use a written agreement to outline the client-lawyer relationship. A written agreement can protect you in the event that the client files a grievance alleging that you didn’t do what was promised or expected.
Don’t Use Client Funds for Business or Personal Use
Attorneys have an ethical duty to handle client funds only for their intended purposes. Using client funds for your own personal or business use can lead to serious disciplinary action. Misuse of client funds is one of the most common reasons why lawyers are disbarred.
Communicate with Clients
Lack of communication is another common complaint made against lawyers. Clients can quickly become agitated if their attorney isn’t responding to emails or phone calls. Lawyers have an affirmative duty to communicate with clients and inform them about matters that will impact their case. A minor miscommunication that hurts a client’s case can result in attorney disciplinary action.
Honor Client Confidentiality
Lawyers must honor client confidentiality to effectively represent a client. In many cases, disciplinary actions regarding confidentiality are simple mistakes made by attorneys. Talking to another attorney in the elevator or on social media about a case can result in serious issues. The attorney’s responsibility is to safeguard the client’s confidence with other parties involved in the case.
Philadelphia Professional License Defense Attorneys
If you are an attorney and you are facing disciplinary action, you need an experienced lawyer on your side. Our Philadelphia professional license defense attorneys have vast experience helping people who are responding to a disciplinary board complaint, seeking reinstatement of their license, facing judicial conduct board investigations, and more. Regardless of the severity of accusations, our legal team can support you when you need to defend against accusations or genuine mistakes. We can help you keep your professional life running smoothly by working to expose the truth or mitigate consequences if you made a genuine error at work.
Contact our Philadelphia and New Jersey professional license defense lawyers today at (610) 550-8042 to schedule a case review!