A Lawyer Who Confirms My Analysis of Keeping a Law License
Sept. 10, 2012
I received this on September 8, 2012.
You are absolutely correct on the issue of surrender of licenses. I'm an attorney and have recently went thru a mess in which a Judge filed a disciplinary grievance against me (which went nowhere) and I responded by filing against him (which is going somewhere).
A grievance can be filed by pretty much anyone, but grievances are confidential because of the potential to damage an attorney's reputation - even when there is no basis for the grievance. Going public with the filing of a grievance is a violation of the accused attorney's confidentiality - and is thus a disciplinary infraction on its own. ONLY after a probable cause panel has determined that there is probable cause to proceed and file a complaint with disciplinary counsel is the complaint (filed by the panel) a matter of public record.
The grievance filed against me by the Judge did not get past the probable cause panel. Thus, since no complaint was ever filed against me by the probable cause panel, the grievance never went public (except for the fact that the Judge filed 50 entries informing the public and my clients that he had filed the grievance - which is the primary basis of my grievance against him). The only result of the grievance filed against me was a letter to the Judge saying the panel was not proceeding against me.
The one I filed against the Judge has been past probable cause and a complaint has been filed against the Judge by the Bar Association probable cause panel. It is now public. Depositions will be taken, the Supreme Court will issue a finding and reprimand or suspend or disbar the Judge.
Another Judge in our area was under heavy investigation. Disciplinary Counsel showed up at his office, took 100 files and his assistant's computer. About 10 days later, the Judge resigned for "health reasons". He is listed on the Supreme Court website as "permanently retired". He surrendered all licenses, but his record shows no discipline and no surrender of licenses. The general public knows nothing about what was going on that led to the visit by disciplinary counsel, even though the local bar associations do.
A physician client of mine has 3 licenses - one of which is in a state 800 miles away in which he hasn't practiced for 25 years. He keeps the licenses and pays the fees because giving up his license would look bad on his applications to the other 2 states. It would imply that he had done something wrong. It's not just lawyers who take that approach.