Virginia Attorney License Defense Lawyer

There are more than 29,000 lawyers admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Despite the large number of attorneys, only a small number of them face any form of attorney grievance in a given year. Despite the small percentage of attorneys these grievances effect, the potential impact could be significant. In some cases, a grievance could result in the termination of an attorney’s ability to practice law.

If you are facing the potential loss of your attorney’s license, you could benefit from the counsel of a skilled professional license defense attorney. A Virginia attorney license defense lawyer could provide you with impartial guidance and work with you to protect your career.

Virginia Attorney Disciplinary Process

The Virginia State Bar (VSB) oversees all complaints and grievances filed against attorneys licensed in the Commonwealth. The process for reviewing these claims is the same and includes four distinct phases.

The process begins with a preliminary investigation. This process involves two different attorneys. An intake attorney that makes the initial determination whether the issue falls under the jurisdiction of the VSB. A VSB – also known as “bar counsel” – is assigned a complaint if the intake attorney believes it has merit. The bar counsel will forward the complaint to the attorney with a request for a written response. These responses are not mandatory. The bar counsel has the option of forwarding the response from the attorney to the complainant. Within 75 days, the bar counsel will make the decision to dismiss the complaint or forward it on for further investigation.

If the complaint is forwarded for further investigation, a committee made up of volunteers will investigate the claim thoroughly. This committee can include attorneys and non-attorneys alike. The investigative committee can request additional information from either party. Ultimately, the investigative committee will forward their findings back to the bar counsel.

The third stage is known as subcommittee review. Bar counsel will review the information collected by the investigative subcommittee. They will then make a recommendation to a subcommittee made up of two volunteer lawyers and one non-lawyer. The subcommittee could decide to bring charges of misconduct or dismiss the entire complaint. Should the subcommittee dismiss the charge, they will notify the complainant in writing.

If the subcommittee votes to convict, the accused lawyer is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. This hearing is the fourth and final stage. The bar counsel handling the complaint will act as prosecutor, and a district committee will determine if the lawyer violated an ethics rule.

The Right to Counsel

The VSB disciplinary process may not be a criminal proceeding, but that does not mean an attorney lacks the rights that come with them. These rights include the right to representation from a Virginia attorney license defense attorney. Not only does a Virginia attorney accused of an ethical violation have the right to consult with a professional license defense lawyer, but they are entitled to representation throughout the course of the process.

How a Virginia Attorney License Defense Attorney Could Help

If you have been accused of an ethical violation, you do not have to wait passively for the VSB to decide your fate. You are entitled to actively participate in your defense throughout the process.

Regardless of your area of legal expertise, it is in your best interest for neutral legal counsel to advise you during the course of your disciplinary proceedings. To discuss your situation, call a Virginia attorney license defense lawyer immediately.