Monday, August 27, 2012

How to file an attorney grievance in Texas

Reporting a lawyer for ethical and other violations is not something most of us wish to do on our Sunday mornings. According to, "Lawyers are human. Sometimes they make legal errors when representing clients. Sometimes they make bad decisions and are charged with crimes. Like anyone else, they have to pay for their mistakes."

Reunion Rescue recently became the financial scapegoat of an attorney in the state of Texas. This attorney, by using privileges bestowed by the State of Texas, strong armed the publication in which Reunion publishes dog and pit bull news stories to fund the upkeep of animals in their care.

Not only did the Examiner pull several articles based on untrue claims by this attorney, but a gang of cyber bullies began attacking the rescue and it's director with harmful and false statements.

How does the Texas Bar feel about one of its own using legal standing to threaten and manipulate a citizen, a federal non profit and a criminal investigation?

The University of Houston Law Center has published a helpful Q and A for those of us without the  benefit of a legal education.

"How can I tell if a rule has been violated?"

"Any person who believes that a rule of professional conduct has been violated may file a complaint with the State Bar. The State Bar will then examine the complaint and determine whether an actual violation is claimed. Not all disputes or disagreements with lawyers involve professional misconduct, but if you believe misconduct under the rules has occurred, you should file a complaint."

"The vast majority of lawyers follow the rules. However, for those who don't, each state has a disciplinary counsel or some other body that investigates and punishes code violations"

"What can happen to an attorney who commits professional misconduct?"

"The State Bar punishes lawyers who commit professional misconduct. The nature of the punishment will vary with the seriousness of the misconduct and other factors. Punishment may include private or public reprimands, suspension or disbarment."

What can the disciplinary process do for me?

"The State Bar disciplinary process is intended to protect the general public by punishing lawyers who commit professional misconduct. However, the State Bar cannot force a lawyer to pay a debt. Nor can the State Bar force a lawyer to reduce or refund a fee. The State Bar can punish a lawyer for failing to return a client's file, but cannot force a lawyer to return the file. The State Bar cannot reverse a criminal conviction, even if the conviction was the result of lawyer misconduct. Finally, dissatisfaction with the result achieved by the attorney usually does not involve professional misconduct."

"How do I file a complaint?"

"First, you must fill out a grievance form, available from the General Counsel's local offices in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Harlingen, Houston, Midland, San Antonio, and Tyler or by mail by calling 1-800-932-1900.

It is important to know that signing the grievance form waives the attorney-client privilege, which would otherwise keep discussions between your lawyer and you confidential. Waiver of this privilege is necessary for the State Bar to review your complaint.

To file your grievance form, send it to the General Counsel's local office nearest you. If you have any questions about where to send your form, call 1-800-932-1900. Make sure you include copies of all papers important to your complaint. You may attach additional pages if your full complaint cannot be stated on the grievance form."

The State Bar of Texas website has published a very simple step by step process in which to file a complaint should anyone feel an attorney has violated their rights:

A person would expect all those years spent studying the law would deem a respect for justice.

"Lawyers have to follow a code of ethics. Each state has its own ethics code or rules, but generally they set out how attorneys are expected to act while in their professional dealings."

The law is for everyone, not just a select few who have discovered how to manipulate the system.

The wheels of justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine.

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