(206) 771-6418 kevin@kevinbanklaw.com

Bar Complaints

I practiced for 19 years at the Washington State Bar Association, progressing from Disciplinary Counsel to Managing Disciplinary Counsel, and then to Assistant General.  I represent lawyers and bar applicants in a wide range of matters.  I can represent or advise you if:

  • You are a lawyer who has received a Bar complaint and need assistance responding;
  • You have responded to a Bar complaint on your own but are concerned that the Bar is continuing to investigate;
  • The Bar has filed formal charges against you;
  • You are a lawyer not admitted in Washington or a law student seeking admission to the Bar, and you have concerns about Character and Fitness issues;
  • You need a legal ethics consultation, opinion letter on an ethical issue, or an ethics expert.

Bar Complaints, Investigations and Hearings

If a Bar complaint is filed against you, you are not alone. About 2000 Bar complaints (or grievances as they called in the rules) are filed each year against Washington State Bar members. Although many are dismissed quickly, hundreds are referred to a Disciplinary Counsel for further investigation. A grievance referred for further investigation may result in a recommendation for a formal hearing, considered for “diversion”, or dismissed.

How I can help:

Receiving a request to respond to a bar grievance is always an unpleasant experience. Obtaining the assistance of an experienced disciplinary lawyer who has thorough knowledge of the Bar’s unique rules and practices before you file a response can put you on the right footing from the start. If the grievance is not dismissed and an investigation leads to the Bar filing a formal complaint, I can help you navigate what can become a very difficult, complex and emotional process. (Be sure to check first with your malpractice insurer to see what services it covers).

Initial Response

A well written, detailed initial response can present your side of the story in a way that convinces the Office of Disciplinary Counsel that there is insufficient or no evidence of ethical misconduct. Without your side of the story, ODC often has nothing to go on other than the allegations in the grievance. Mounting an effective and early defense can pay great dividends.

Disciplinary Investigations and Hearings

If the grievance is not dismissed and proceeds further, you may be asked by ODC to produce further documents or subpoenaed to a deposition. If ODC believes that ethical rules have been violated, they will likely recommend a hearing or, for less serious misconduct, consider a diversion program.

The stakes become much higher if the matter reaches this stage. Possible outcomes include a stipulated settlement, a diversion agreement or a disciplinary hearing. If your case goes to a hearing, you have the option to appeal the Hearing Officer’s decision. I can handle your appeal to the Disciplinary Board (the intermediate appellate body for disciplinary matters) and/or the Supreme Court.

Legal Ethics Attorney Kevin Bank

Attorney Kevin Bank