Lawyer Discipline

Lawyer Discipline Defense. If you receive an ethics complaint, you do not want to represent yourself and have a “fool for a lawyer.” You also should not want to be some lawyer’s “guinea pig” when your license and future practice as a lawyer are at stake.

Downey Law Group offers objective, experienced counsel to assist you in responding to ethics complaints. Our goal is to end the matter as quickly as possible, and with the slightest possible expense to our clients. In most matters, this means obtaining dismissal of complaint and closure of the matter before formal proceedings commence. We pursue this goal by assisting lawyers with preparing written responses and in appearing before lawyer discipline investigative boards.

Downey Law Group also has extensive experience dealing with formal proceedings, often because an accused lawyer contacts Downey Law Group only when a lawyer discipline matter turns serious. Founding member Michael Downey has tried numerous lawyer discipline cases in Missouri and Illinois, and argued lawyer discipline cases before the Missouri Supreme Court and Illinois Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission (ARDC) Review Board. Notable results include:

  • Dismissal at hearing of a charge a lawyer had violated lawyer advertising rules;
  • Dismissal at hearing of a charge a lawyer had failed to provide competent counsel, resulting only in informal discipline on the remaining charge relating to self-reported violations of the duty of confidentiality;
  • Dismissal at hearing of charges including that a law firm had improperly obtained and used an opposing party’s privileged information; and
  • Supreme Court entry of a stayed suspension where the client faced reciprocal discipline after being suspended for a year in another jurisdiction.

Filing Disciplinary Complaints. Downey Law Group has assisted corporate and individual clients in filing ethics complaints against unethical lawyers, and lawyers satisfying their duty to report other lawyers or self-reporting their own unethical conduct. Founding member Michael Downey helps assess whether a lawyer’s duty would violate the rules, what sanctions are likely, and how to help disciplinary counsel understand the seriousness of the violations.

Mr. Downey has also presented evidence of violations to a Missouri lawyer discipline Regional Committee so the Committee could readily ascertain the nature and seriousness of a pattern of candor violations.

Alan Pratzel Interview

Missouri Lawyer Discipline Flow Chart