Lawyer Discipline & Bar Admissions

Downey Law Group has extensive experience assisting lawyers in responding to charges of unethical conduct, and responding to the disciplinary charges that sometimes arise from those charges.

We have helped lawyers respond to more than 100 ethics complaints, represented lawyers at dozens of disciplinary proceedings, and argued numerous lawyer discipline cases before the Missouri Supreme Court and Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) Review Board. Representative experience includes:

  • Dismissal at hearing of a charge that a lawyer had violated lawyer advertising rules
  • Dismissal at hearing of a charge that the lawyer had failed to provide competent counsel; the lawyer was then admonished for a self-reported violation 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
  • Missouri Supreme Court entry of a reprimand for trust account violations where the Missouri Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel had requested a stayed suspension
  • Missouri Supreme Court entry of a stayed suspension where the client faced reciprocal discipline after being suspended for a year in another jurisdiction

Downey Law Group works hard to understand and present its client’s best case from the opening of the disciplinary investigation. Our aim is to provide lawyers with effective and affordable representation, and whenever possible to keep the lawyer engaged in the active practice of law.

Bar Admissions and Reinstatement

Downey Law Group also regularly helps applicants navigate the bar admissions process, including representing individuals seeking testing accommodations and advising on the Character and Fitness process. We have also helped lawyers regain their license to practice law after suspension, disbarment, or periods of inactivity.

Filing Disciplinary Complaints

Downey Law Group has also assisted corporate and individual clients in filing ethics complaints against unethical lawyers, and has assisted 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 actions would violate the rules, what sanctions are likely, and how to help disciplinary counsel understand the seriousness of 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.

We welcome you to contact us to discuss your disciplinary or ethics matter and how we can help.

Further Reading — Lawyer Discipline

Alan Pratzel Interview. This interview, conducted in 2007, contains an excellent explanation of the Missouri lawyer discipline system, prepared as Alan Pratzel was preparing to take over as Missouri’s Chief Disciplinary Counsel.

Missouri Lawyer Discipline Flow Chart. Modified from an OCDC document, this flow chart displays how an ethics compliant may move through the three levels of a Missouri lawyer discipline case: (1) the information investigation; (2) the formal charge and hearing; and (3) Supreme Court briefing and argument.

Responding to an Ethics Complaint. This article provides eleven suggestions for a lawyer responding to a disciplinary complaint during the “informal stage” of the lawyer discipline process.