Legal Professionals: What to Do If You Receive Notice of a Complaint from the Kansas Board of Discipline of Attorneys

One day you are at the office just about to return a client’s phone call when your office assistant drops the mail on your desk. Neatly placed on top of other attorney correspondences you see a letter from Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys, informing you that a complaint has been filed against you. You are not alone. At some point in your career, either a former client or a non-client may become upset with you or your client and file a complaint against you. This does not mean that you should disregard the complaint or not take the complaint seriously. In fact, all complaints whether meritorious or not should be taken very seriously. If you receive notice of a complaint from the Board, here are some basic steps you should follow:

1)      Inform your firm: Whether you are an associate attorney or a partner, you will dread telling people that you received a complaint. However, the firm’s management needs to be made aware of the action as soon as possible so that the firm can take appropriate action. For example, a partner will need to inform the firm’s malpractice insurance carrier and develop a plan in case the complaining party contacts the office.

2)      Do not send a hastily drafted response: Upon receipt of a complaint, you may be overcome with emotions. On the one hand, you may be angry and want to draft a response denying any wrongdoing and pointing out the errors of the complaining party’s unskillfully drafted grievance. Or, on the other hand, you may find yourself admitting wrongdoing and asking for understanding. Neither choice is a good one. A response needs to be carefully drafted so that it does not inadvertently admit any wrongdoing or create cause for a different violation. For example, an attorney’s response needs to be mindful of the attorney-client privilege.

3)      Hire an experienced attorney: Do not consider representing yourself. As the familiar saying goes, an attorney who represents himself has an idiot for a client. Do not trust your law license to an attorney who does not have experience before the Board and cannot provide you with an objective perspective and strategy for the case, in other words “YOU”.

4)      Do not communicate with the complaining party: Although it may be tempting to contact the complaining party, especially if it is a former client, resist the temptation. The conversation may be construed by the complaining party as an attempt to dissuade the party from bringing a complaint or as attempt to buy the complaining party’s silence.

If you have received notice of disciplinary action by the Kansas Board of Discipline of Attorneys, contact the Sanger Law Office at 785-979-4353 to schedule a free and completely confidential consultation. You can trust the team of seasoned professionals at the Sanger Law Office to thoroughly investigate the pending allegations being brought against you and to prepare an effective strategy that meets your individual and professional needs.