Professional Responsibility for Attorneys in Kansas and Missouri – The Continuing Duty to Disclose

Obtaining your law license is no easy task.  You have taken the time to acquire an undergraduate degree.  You have spent three more years of your life in law school.  And you have taken a grueling summer to prepare for the hardest examination of your life – the all familiar bar exam.  After earning a well-deserved law degree and license to practice law, one small mistake could wipe it all away.  Mistakes happen, small and large.  Many attorneys do not realize the importance of reporting and disclosure requirements – a continuing duty that lasts as long as you are an attorney.

In both Kansas and Missouri, the character and fitness process of disclosing prior conduct, whether such conduct resulted in a criminal charge or conviction, or whether past conduct resulted in a perceived character flaw, is essential to obtaining a law license.  The range of conduct and information that disciplinary boards want to know about is far reaching, and many people may consider some conduct to be so insignificant that it would not be worth sharing.  This slight mistake could cost you your law license.

For example, maybe you cheated on one law school examination and did not disclose this to the disciplinary board in your state.  If the board finds out about this conduct after you have obtained your license, you are at a significant risk for losing your law license and it may be difficult, if not impossible to get the license back.

While full disclosure is of utmost importance in the application stage of obtaining your law license in Kansas or Missouri, disclosure of conduct that occurs after you obtain your license is equally important.  Maybe you were accused of harassment or charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Even if you may be innocent of either accusation, you still must disclose that you are the subject of some investigation.  When in doubt, it is best to disclose to the disciplinary board of your state.  The board is more likely to look at your case more favorably should an investigation result in an affirmative charge or conviction.

Further, the conduct at issue may not be intentional.  Perhaps you accidentally commingled client funds with your own funds.  The first thing you should do is remedy the situation by informing your client and your state’s disciplinary board.  You will be given the opportunity to explain yourself.  Mistakes happen, but you must be honest and eager to fix them.

Accidental conduct that is not reported could be deemed to be intentional conduct if your state’s disciplinary board were to receive a complaint from a client.  At that point in time, you may have a much more difficult time convincing the board that you made a simple mistake.  Be on the safe side and report any conduct that may, even with a slight chance, result in disciplinary action.  Don’t lose your law license for a minor mishap.

If you believe your law license is at risk, or you are unsure of whether you need to report conduct to your state’s disciplinary board, contact an experienced professional license defense attorney as soon as possible.  At the Sanger Law Office, Danielle Sanger and her team will provide you with the representation you need to protect your law license.  Even if a complaint has not been filed against you, it is best to get the advice of a qualified professional license defense attorney who will ensure you take the proper steps to preserve your hard-earned license as an attorney.  Contact the Sanger Law Office today for a free consultation to discuss your situation.  We can be reached by calling (785) 979-4353.  We look forward to helping you continue the practice of law for years to come.