Reasons for Attorney Suspended From Practice

Attorney Suspended From Practice


While searching for a reputed attorney for you, it is necessary to investigate whether he is disciplined or not. Every state in the US has disciplinary authorities that have all the records of attorneys. If the bar association receives any complaint against an attorney, the organization will investigate it. If the misconduct or unethical behavior of an attorney is proven during the investigation, the organization will discipline the attorney as per the rules. 

A state can discipline or suspend an attorney for many reasons. Like if the attorney fails to pay the bar funds or violates any client’s rules. Some attorneys will be suspended and will be unable to practice the law. You should avoid hiring such attorneys that are not eligible for practice law. 

It is ideal to do research before hiring an attorney. Have a thorough look at his practicing career before hiring him. Always take into account the current and previous legal circumstances that the attorney had.

In this article, you will go through a detailed guide about how the attorneys got suspended from the practice.

How to find out if an attorney has been disciplined? 

A disciplinary record of an attorney is a public record. The law board and the state bar of any court do not publicize the complaints against a lawyer until the law board will formally discipline an attorney. So when the law board decides that disciplinary action against the attorney will become a public record, you can easily check out the record of the attorney by contacting the clerks of the country’s bar association or by the Supreme Court through either phone or online. 

Attorneys can face disciplinary issues for multiple reasons. The rules of each state are different. The actions that may put disciplinary actions against the attorney are criminal convictions, stealing the funds of clients, or when unable to pay his state bar fee. So never hire an attorney unless you will be satisfied with his records and background. 

Checking history through phone

For record checking, you can call your state’s Supreme Court clerk. A clerk is responsible for keeping the disciplinary records of the attorneys. On the other hand, in some countries, the bar association of the state maintains the records of the attorneys. You have to give the name of the attorney to the clerk and he will tell you if the attorney’s license is valid for practice or not. Also, check out the formal pending disciplinary charges against that attorney. In the end, ask for the attorney’s disciplinary record if that attorney is facing any disciplinary actions that information will be in the public record. So the clerk will disclose to you whether his license is valid or he is facing some disciplinary actions. 

Checking history online

In many countries here, bars give online access to the public for checking the attorney’s records. You can google it to find out the attorney discipline. Simply you have to select the country in which that attorney practices. Then go to that state bar site. Search the attorney’s name there. In this way, you can easily find out the city and the address of his office. 

In many states, you can get information about the attorney that is facing any ethics complaints having disciplinary complaints. If the allegations against an attorney are severe, he may lose his practicing license.

How will you identify if something is wrong in the attorney discipline records?

There are some states in the USA that publicize the details about an attorney’s discipline. These public documents have records of the past 10 years which include the credibility history of attorneys. You can easily find the disciplinary records of attorneys from the clerk of the State Bar’s Association. Additionally you can also check it out at the website of the state’s Supreme Court by phone or online. For online checking go to the website of the state’s Supreme court or navigate to search the lawyer’s page. Enter the first and last name of the lawyer and search the results. In addition, you can also add the city of that lawyer. 

When you are on the lawyer’s page, you will see the attorney’s status under his name. His status will show whether he is eligible to practice, a member in good standing, or disbarred. Additionally, you will see his contact details, attorney’s number, and admittance year to Bar. 

When you scroll down this page, there is a category that shows the 10-Year disciplinary history of the attorney. This category either shows details or has nothing. If this section shows any details you can see the action date, reference number, or sanction. When you click the green reference number it will direct you to a page having court documents such as Report of Referee or Supreme Court Order. Continue clicking each court document to find out more details about the attorney’s case. 

What happens when a lawyer is suspended – Working as a suspended attorney

Each state has its own rules and legal processes for the license activation of the suspended attorney. California legal rules allow bar members to give employment to suspended, or resigned attorneys for legal or clerical tasks. However, these suspended attorneys will not be able to give legal advice or consultation with the clients. In addition, they are unable to represent clients in court. In addition, these lawyers are unable to take part in the investigation processes. In the USA according to Rule 25, a lawyer who is suspended for more than six months will be restored to his position upon the court’s order. However, no suspended attorney will be able to file a petition before the six months or when the suspension period expires. Readmission takes place when the disbarred attorney will return to practicing law. No suspended lawyer will be able to apply for restoration before the five years of his suspension. 

Reasons for suspension – Lawyers have high responsibilities to meet their professional standards. If a lawyer violates any rules then he will face disciplinary action. Misconduct that cause attorneys face disciplinary action are:

  • If he violates any legal rules.
  • If he aids another person to violate a rule. 
  • Doing any misconduct, fraud, or dishonesty with clients.
  • If a lawyer commits any crime.

The results of this misconduct lead to penalties that will be in the form of suspension, disbarment, and private and public censure. Here are some more reasons that cause the suspension of an attorney.

Negligence by a lawyer – You can file a complaint if a lawyer will neglect or delay your case without informing you. You can ask your lawyer for negligence in written form. If he doesn’t respond and still neglects your case, you have the right to file a complaint against him. 

Accounting details – In some cases, lawyers handle accounting matters for clients. If you did not receive money on time or a lawyer is not giving you records for accounting, you have the right to file a complaint against him. 

Dishonesty – Lawyers cannot make false statements to their clients. When you find that your lawyer lies to you, you have the right to file a complaint. It is the responsibility of a lawyer to discuss each detail of a case with his client. If he does any dishonesty in his case, he has to face the results. 

Fees – Excessively charging a client is illegal. If your lawyer charges you excessively you can file a complaint in court. The fees issue will be resolved in district court. 

When you file a complaint against these issues, the Board will investigate and decide whether to suspend a lawyer or not. The Board may dismiss the complaint or may result in revoking or suspending the license of the lawyer. 

How can a potential survival is possible after an attorney’s suspension from practice?

Each country has its own rules that define the obligations of an attorney. An attorney can be suspended in response to his disciplinary action. Disciplinary action will be taken against an attorney due to an ethical complaint or may be due to the violation of some professional rules. After the suspension of an attorney, he has to inform clients, opposing counsel, and co-counsel within ten days of his previous cases. Attorneys have to return all the documents and files within these days. For withdrawing from active judicial matters an attorney has to follow proper processes until the new attorney will take up the matters. Suspended lawyers will not be able to take new clients. 

Some of the attorneys are temporarily suspended. This suspension may be for 30 days. However, they have to go through many procedures for the activation of their license. It is quite easy to take away the temporary suspension. 

After the suspension of an attorney, his survival mainly depends on the area where you are practicing the law. For example, in California, it is permitted to perform the activities as long as the client will notify for whom he was working. But a suspended attorney will only do support work. He will not be able to perform consultations with clients, negotiate with parties, appear on the client’s behalf, handle various funds for the clients, or be unable to practice the law. Many other countries have the same laws for suspended attorneys. While some countries do not allow attorneys to contact clients in legal matters. 

In the end, if you are also going through the same suspension issues, then first understand the situation of what you can and cannot do. Consult with the legal team and understand the rules of the state. 

List of suspended lawyers 

Below is the list of suspended lawyers in the USA. Let’s have a look at them. 

Kaveh ArdalanLos Angeles, CA
Anthony AlvarezFlorida
Rita H. AltmanFlorida
Mahmoud SafetyMaryland/New York
Boma O. AllisonHouston, TX
Peter A. AllenMassachusetts
Brad A. AlexanderFlorida
John Nwabuwane AkwubaMinnesota
Alaba A.AjetunmobiLos Angeles
Pius AireweleMassachusetts/Georgia 
Edward J. AbramsonFlorida

Many names are on the list of suspended lawyers. Here we mention some of them. If you want to know more about the suspended lawyer’s suspension date or reference number you can google their names and check the further details.

What legal stages include in attorney discipline cases?

Following are the stages of the disciplinary process that an attorney must have to face.

Inquiry – A disciplinary process against a lawyer starts when a bar receives a complaint against a lawyer for misconduct. These inquiries come from clients, judges, or lawyers. 

Investigation – When the bar receives the application against a lawyer then the bar counsel will head toward the investigation process. Then the bar counsel will consider and review all the facts and evidence provided against the attorney. Facts and evidence includes documents, videos, or eyewitnesses of that matter. In the investigation, staff investigators also help bar counsel in the investigation process. If sufficient evidence goes against the attorney, bar counsel moves the complaint to the grievance committee, pointing out the violated rules.

Grievance committee – In the grievance committee proceedings, they perform further investigation against the case considering all the charges of the bar counsel, and determine the cause of the disciplinary violation. 

The trial before the referee – After finding the possible reason for the violation by the grievance committee, the bar along with the court files a complaint. There is a respondent that defends the complaint. A case will not be resolved during the early stages of the trial; the respondent is the witness of the case and is questioned by the bar. 

Review of the referee report – Respondent and the bar have 60 days to review the referee report. The review of the referee report is determined by the law board. 

Judgment of supreme court – Supreme Court will take the final decision. Court will determine all the disciplinary matters of the lawyers. A court will review all the evidence and referee reports and then decide according to the reports. 

What are the possible reasons involved in an attorney discipline case?

An attorney who loses the right to practice law will ultimately face suspension for a specific period. There are many reasons for the suspension of the attorney that includes lack of honesty, moral fitness, trustworthiness, and penalties for breaking the bar’s rules which led to the suspension. Legal procedures for all these immoral activities are different in every state. Below we mention when an attorney is fraudulent, or guilty in his profession. 

Taking interest from clients – According to the rules of the USA, a lawyer is highly responsible for these duties when it is concerned with their clients. Under their rules, a lawyer must put the interests of their clients before their interests. As many lawyers take money from their clients these dues and fees should be according to the rules. Stealing from the client is a big immoral activity. 

Other frauds – There are many other types of fraud by which an attorney may face suspension even if an attorney does not take money from a client. If a client gives money to an attorney for the legal processes, an attorney will have to refund this money if he is unable to do something in the client’s case. In addition, if a lawyer pretends that he did his job and will not refund you, this is an act of fraud and may lead to suspension.

Moral crimes – A lawyer having claims of serious crime may face suspension for some period. A moral crime involves dishonesty, legal fraud, payment fraud, and many others. In addition, corruption, and violence are also included. 

Violation of the Rules of the Bar Association – When a lawyer practices law he has to do everything according to the rules of jurisdiction. If someone violates those rules he commits a crime. Every lawyer is responsible for following the bar association’s rules. If he doesn’t follow he will face suspension and many other punishments as well. In some cases, there is a loss of the practicing license. 

How do attorneys have high ethical standards in their professional lives?

Professional ethics are very important in attorneys’ discipline cases. Attorneys are also responsible for their conduct in their personal lives. To face the legal results for misconduct or any criminal activity like dishonesty, fraud, corruption, or misrepresentation. A lawyer also has to face the rules of the State Bar Association. 

On the other hand, a lawyer is also responsible for the good moral values in his personal life too. Some thought that this is unfair to impose such implementations on personal life. However, these are the consequences of their legal profession’s ethics. This will encourage ethical and trusty behavior between lawyers and the public. 

Misconduct of lawyer – One type of misconduct involves the misbehavior, dishonesty, or corruption of the lawyers. This adversely affects the career of a lawyer. This shows that if a lawyer commits a crime he will have to face the legal consequences in each aspect along with criminal consequences. Other types of misconduct include failure to pay taxes, refund to clients, or fraud  

Penalties for misconduct – Penalties involve suspending a lawyer from practicing law or issuing them legal notices for misconduct. While determining the attorney discipline cases, courts have to consider many factors like disciplinary records, or ethics records. In every moral crime, the suspension period is different. Some lawyers face 6 months of suspension while some face years of suspension. 

Practicing law is a privilege not a right of a lawyer. For establishing a controlled system, there are some rules and regulations the attorneys have to follow. For misconduct and unethical behavior, there are many penalties for that. The legal practice of the lawyer is a key part of law. The rules are made to punish the unfit practicing law. 

Final words

Before you are going to hire an attorney it is very important to check his history. It is necessary to contact the disciplinary agency of the lawyer to confirm the good reputation of that lawyer. Some lawyers have licenses in more than one state. To find out whether the attorneys are disciplined or not, you must find out that the attorney is licensed. To check the licensing details of the attorneys go to google for more information. Each state has its online listing of lawyers. After searching the list you can type the name of the attorney to find out his record. Attorney discipline cases are also in the form. These records may be printed in monthly magazines or mailed out by the bar association to the members of the bar. 

Lawyers are obligated to maintain high ethical qualities. There are many rules for the regulation of the good conduct of lawyers with the public. Attorneys who will not follow the rules must be subjected to attorney discipline cases that include suspension, censure, or losing the practicing license. 

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