How to Defend Against Your Ethics Violation

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If someone is alleging that a lawyer has committed an ethics violation, it is essential to take the allegation seriously and consult with an experienced State Bar complaint defense lawyer. An ethics violation can be grounds for termination of employment, so it is important to understand the allegations and to put forth the strongest possible defense.

Let’s take a look at how this works.

How an Ethics Violation is Levied Against a Lawyer

There are a number of ways in which an ethics violation can be levied against a lawyer.

The most common is through the filing of a complaint with the state bar association. The complaint will allege that the lawyer has violated one or more of the rules of professional conduct and/or applicable ethical statute, such as Business and Professions Code sections 6068 or 6106.

In this case, working with a State Bar complaint defense attorney from Legal Ethics 911 is the best course of action. The legal ethics lawyer can then take you through all the necessary steps to prepare for a State Bar trial.

Another way an ethics violation can be levied against a lawyer in California is when the State Bar investigates an attorney on its own initiative. This usually occurs in response to a media report or other information that brings to light a claim that an attorney has committed ethical misconduct. The State Bar of California has an internal department that monitors all news about attorneys and which receives information from judges, elected officials or even the Supreme Court of California.

Still another way an ethics violation can be levied against a lawyer is when an appellate decision includes a finding that a rule of professional conduct or applicable ethical statute has been violated by a particular attorney involved in the appeal. Even decisions from federal district and appeal courts, bankruptcy courts, immigration courts or agency actions can be the basis for opening a disciplinary investigation against an attorney.

What to Do When Accused of an Ethics Violation?

If you’re accused of an ethics violation or face a law license denial, the first thing you should do is consult with an experienced State Bar matter defense attorney. The attorney will review the allegations against you and advise you as to the best course of action. The attorney can also represent you in any proceedings that may be brought against you as a result of the accusation.

Depending on the nature of the accusation, you may be able to defend against the allegation without going to State Bar Court. For example, if the accusation is that you violated a rule of professional conduct, you may be able to show that you did not actually violate the rule. Alternatively, you may be able to show that the rule doesn’t apply to the specific situation in which you were accused of violating it. Such pre-filing outcomes will not be publicly disclosed, except in very limited and rare circumstances.

There are a few key steps to follow to defend against an ethics violation:

1.   Cooperate with the investigation

If the State Bar is investigating an alleged ethics violation, it is important to cooperate with the investigation. More importantly, in California cooperating with a State Bar investigation is legally required under Business and Professions Code section 6068(i). This means being honest and open with the investigator, providing all relevant documentation, and not trying to hide anything. Trying to hide information or obstruct the investigation will only make matters worseby adding a “failure to cooperate” charge to your case.

2.   Understand the allegations against you

It is important to understand what specific allegations are being made against you. Once you know the allegations, you can start to gather evidence to support your defense.

3.   Gather evidence to support your defense

If you have documents or other evidence that can help to refute the allegations against you, it is important to gather this evidence and provide it to your attorney.

4.   Consult with a State Bar defense attorney

If you are facing allegations of an ethics violation, it is important to consult with an experienced State Bar defense attorney who can help you to understand your rights and options and who can help you to put forth the strongest possible defense.

An ethics violation can have serious consequences, so it is important to take the allegations against you seriously and consult with an experienced attorney. With the right defense, you may be able to avoid these consequences and keep your job.

If you have been accused of an ethics violation — contact Legal Ethics 911 immediately. We are dedicated to helping California lawyers who have been accused of ethics violations. We can help to connect you with an experienced attorney who can assist you with your case. Contact us and let us help you today!

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