If you are faced with a complaint or possible disciplinary action against your license to practice law, you are likely in unfamiliar territory. The old saying about lawyers representing themselves could never ring truer than it does in this context. It is important to have an attorney who knows the process assess your situation objectively. With your reputation, career, and license at stake, you will want an experienced attorney discipline lawyer advocating for you.
The Office of the Disciplinary Administrator is charged with the responsibility of investigating complaints regarding attorneys. When a complaint is filed, it is initially reviewed to determine whether it can be handled informally. An experienced attorney can guide you through this process and provide strategic advice in preparing responses to complaints handled informally.
If the complaint appears to have merit or alleges attorney violations involving dishonesty, then it will be docketed for formal investigation and consideration by the Review Committee. Because attorneys have a duty to fully cooperate in investigations, you will want counsel who is familiar with the intricacies of the process to advise you on your rights and obligations throughout the investigation. Our attorneys will be able to assist you in providing a comprehensive response that conveys all material facts and fairly portrays the context of the situation. We can also offer strategic advice regarding possible mitigating measures that may be available.
After the investigation concludes, the Review Committee will consider the case. The respondent attorney does not appear before or otherwise discuss the matter with the Review Committee. The Review Committee is comprised of three attorneys who recommend to the Disciplinary Administrator and his staff whether there is probable cause that the respondent attorney violated the rules of professional conduct and what type of discipline should be sought.
If the Review Committee finds probable cause, a formal complaint will be filed. The respondent attorney will have the opportunity to file an answer, and the matter will be scheduled for a disciplinary hearing before the Hearing Panel. During the disciplinary hearing, evidence is presented, testimony is heard, and counsel for both sides offer arguments. You need someone with experience litigating attorney discipline issues to present a solid case on your behalf.
If the Hearing Panel recommends disciplinary action more serious than informal admonishment, then the Hearing Panel’s report and recommendations are filed with the Kansas Supreme Court. The parties may file briefs regarding any disputed findings. The respondent attorney must appear before the Kansas Supreme Court during oral arguments. The Kansas Supreme Court has the final say on the matter and can adopt, modify, or overturn the Hearing Panel’s findings and recommendations.
In addition to assisting with disciplinary issues, our attorneys provide guidance and assist lawyers with their initial admission to the Kansas State Bar. Whether the Disciplinary Administrator’s staff have already contacted you or you are concerned about potential issues, it is important to seek legal advice early in the application process. Our attorneys also assist suspended attorneys seeking to return to active practice and disbarred attorneys in reinstatement proceedings. Our Topeka office is conveniently located near the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator. But, with offices in Wichita, Topeka, Lawrence, and Overland Park, we represent attorneys across the state.