How to Look Up the Disciplinary History of Criminal Defence Attorneys

One important way to determine if an attorney is right for you is by checking their disciplinary history. Attorney disciplinary bodies exist to ensure attorneys are doing their professional duties to clients, the general public, and the legal system. They create avenues for anyone to report an attorney’s misconduct. These bodies investigate such reports and file a formal complaint if the report is found to be true. 

Every city or province has an attorney organization. These bodies monitor criminal lawyers or other legal personnel under them. Anyone can lay a complaint about a lawyer to these organizations. Once they receive a complaint, they start an investigation to determine if the lawyer broke any rules or legal or ethical code. If the lawyer is guilty, the organization disciplines them.

It is helpful to check on a lawyer’s disciplinary history to know their background. And it would be best if you considered your findings when deciding to hire a lawyer. Each province and city usually have a board responsible for attorney discipline. By visiting their website, you can run a check on the lawyer or law firm. 

Where to look up a criminal lawyer’s disciplinary history

Each state or province has a bar association. Bar associations are responsible for regulating lawyers and the legal profession where they are situated. If attorney disciplinary information is not online, the best place to look is the state’s bar association. 

In some cases, these associations upload their court cases on their websites for the public to access them. Bar associations’ websites often list all disbarred lawyers for visitors to see. If a lawyer has been disciplined, you can check the nature of their offense.

It is possible to request disciplinary records from Bar associations. A lawyer can be disciplined through suspension, and such information is not often posted on the association’s website. Therefore, you may have to contact the association directly to request the information.

What happens if a lawyer is disbarred?

If a lawyer is disbarred, it means they are banned from the legal profession. They have lost their license and can no longer practice law. Disbarment is a consequence of several complaints about a lawyer. Suppose the bar association has received too many reports from other lawyers, clients, and judges, about a lawyer. In that case, the association may determine that such an attorney is no longer fit for their job. In the disbarred lawyers’ list, you will find reasons ranging from fund misappropriation to felony or criminal conviction. A disbarred lawyer can be reinstated through court orders.

What happens if a lawyer is suspended?

Suspension is temporary disbarment. If a lawyer is suspended, it means their license is temporarily revoked. They can not practice during the period of their suspension. The reasons for suspension can range from incompetencies to criminal convictions. The appropriate time to apply for reinstatement varies among states. But the lawyer can apply and get reinstated once the time is right. Usually, a probationary period often precedes reinstatement. If a lawyer is on probation, they can not do certain duties or work alone.