How to File a Bar Complaint Against a Florida Lawyer for Unprofessional or Unethical Conduct?
When allegations of unprofessional conduct or legal malpractice against a Florida lawyer arise, the Florida Bar grievance system provides a means to discipline the lawyer.
The purpose of the system, which was established by the Supreme Court of Florida, is to enforce uniform standards of lawyers’ professional conduct.
Any allegations of legal malpractice and bar complaints are taken seriously and immediately investigated by the Florida Bar, which receives and reviews all claims alleging unethical or unprofessional conduct by lawyers licensed to practice in West Palm Beach and other parts of Florida.
Types of legal malpractice include missing deadlines, conflict of interest, lacking knowledge of the applicable law, failing to respond to a client, and charging excessive contingency fees.
How Do You File a Complaint with the Florida Bar?
All your allegations of a lawyer’s unprofessional or unethical conduct must be put in writing. To file a bar complaint, you can either use this Florida Bar’s form or provide the following information:
- Provide your name and contact information, as well as your attorney’s name, address and phone number
- Detail the facts on which your allegations are based (attach copies of any documents, letters, court papers, and other materials that establish your claims)
- A statement providing: “Under penalty of perjury, I declare the foregoing facts are correct, true and complete”
- Your signature
Then, the complaint must be forwarded to the appropriate Florida Bar’s office in your area.
Note: Any information you disclose to the Florida Bar will become public record and shared with the lawyer about whom you complain to the bar. If you want to remain anonymous, provide an alternative means for the bar to contact you if the lawyer can recognize your address and phone number.
What Happens After Filing a Complaint?
The Florida Bar will not begin investigating your complaint until after Bar Counsel verifies that the bar has jurisdiction to review the allegations. If the bar has jurisdiction, the inquiry will be considered as a complaint.
When the bar opens a formal disciplinary file, Bar Counsel continues the investigation and has to decide whether the complaint should be forwarded to a grievance committee, a group of people assigned to address bar complaints.
Note: If Bar Counsel decides not to refer the complaint to a grievance committee, the claimant has no right to appeal the decision.
During the investigation, the lawyer about whom you complain may respond to your allegations. A copy of the response must be sent to the claimant. The duration of the investigation of bar complaints depends upon the circumstances of your case. A skilled West Palm Beach bar complaints & grievances attorney may help evaluate the length of your case.
After filing your complaint, you are expected to attend grievance committee hearings and testify at trial.
How Much Does It Cost to File a Bar Complaint in Florida?
The Florida Bar does not charge any fees or costs for filing a bar complaint against a lawyer. All members of the bar pay dues that cover the cost of lawyer discipline. If the Supreme Court of Florida rules against a lawyer, he or she will be ordered to pay the costs involved.
Get help from our West Palm Beach legal malpractice attorneys at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to represent you if you filed an inquiry against a lawyer or are facing a bar complaint as a lawyer. Call at 561-291-8298 to talk about your case.