Tag Archive for: Missouri Profesional Licensing Attorney

Self-Representation in Professional Disciplinary Proceedings is Dangerous

Acting as one’s own attorney appears to be an effective manner to save money when facing professional licensing discipline. Many people reason that no one but themselves could represent their best interests. The license is theirs, and they will fight to the bitter end to prove that they are right. Frequently the self-represented person wants to argue general principles of fairness rather than the finer points of state or federal law. Fairness plays a considerable role in our system of justice, but ethereal notions of fairness might not overcome an allegation that the licensee violated a disciplinary rule.

The plan rarely goes as devised. To be sure, people act as their own lawyers every day in courts all across America. Even when faced with the prospect of spending a lifetime in prison, some individuals want to get their day in court and to have their voices heard. The right to do so is theirs, provided they are competent.

People represent themselves in other legal settings as well. Self-represented, or pro se, litigants defend themselves against allegations in family courts, civil courts, and administrative proceedings as well. Some litigants will file claims on their behalf, with the belief that they are saving money.

There’s a reason the adage that “you get what you pay for” exists. Courts do not bend the rules to accommodate self-represented litigants. At first blush, one could think that the pro se litigant is entitled to deference and relaxation of the rules. Doing that creates two justice systems. People often complain that the “rich” get one system of justice, and the “poor” experience something less. However, permitting the self-represented litigant to eschew the rules and procedures because they choose not to hire counsel creates the stratified legal system people loathe.

Pro se litigants have one advantage, slight though it might be. The rules of legal ethics prohibit a lawyer from taking advantage of an unrepresented litigant simply because the person lacks legal training. However, people also get themselves in deeper trouble by failing to see the forest for the trees. Self-represented litigants tend to focus on one finer point contained in the allegations while ignoring the reality that there are broader issues that must be countered.

Hiring a trained and experienced professional licensing attorney to represent you against allegations of wrongdoing or unprofessional conduct before a licensing authority is the only way to protect you and your family from the harmful effects of professional discipline. The notion holds true even if the allegation of professional misconduct is a relatively minor issue.

Professional licensing authorities consider past transgressions when meting discipline. Therefore, no issue before a licensing board is too small to hire a lawyer. Hiring an attorney will help you understand all of the permutations of the situation and also consider the larger picture. Lawyers are trained to contemplate and analyze the ramifications a particular disposition will have in the future.

For example, a pro se defendant might think that private censure is a beneficial disposition for an allegation of professional misconduct. It could very well be, but what happens if there are additional allegations in the future? Then the disciplinary board will look less favorably on the licensee, and the penalty for the second case could be more severe because of the disciplinary action taken in the first instance. However, hiring an attorney to represent you in the first instance could have given you a chance to evaluate other options, including advocating for a dismissal, which the licensing authority could not use against you in later proceedings.

Talk with a Professional Licensing Attorney about Your Options

Professional disciplinary defense attorney Danielle Sanger represents professional licensees in Kansas and Missouri. Attorney Sanger has dedicated her practice to defending the rights of hardworking people who deserve a second chance.  Call Missouri Professional Licensing Attorney Danielle Sanger at 785-979-4353 to learn more about how she could protect your livelihood.