Even though you have a bar card, you may not be fully aware of circumstances that could result in you losing your bar card.
You may want to apprise yourself of the different factors that can result in this happening, so you don’t unnecessarily put yourself in hot water.
This information may also help you develop a defense strategy if you’re currently facing disciplinary action as an attorney.
What are some acts that may result in facing disciplinary action as a lawyer?
The American Bar Association’s (ABA) website highlights several offenses that may result in an attorney facing disciplinary action, including:
- Committing a crime of moral turpitude: The ABA contends that any conviction for a serious crime such as a felony may call into question trustworthiness and honesty. Any crime that involves a breach of trust, such as fraud, or corruption may fall under the umbrella of such an offense.
- Breaching your fiduciary obligation to your clients: Attorneys hold a position of trust. They have a responsibility to protect their client’s interests instead of their own.
- Violations of bar association rules: Attorneys must adhere to certain rules of conduct to retain their bar cards. You may lose your law license if you fail to complete any state-mandated continuing education requirements or pay your bar dues.
The bar association may temporarily or permanently ban you from practicing law for mishandling cases, whether it involves conflicts of interests, missing filing deadlines or inadequate representation as well.
How do suspension and disbarment differ?
Two of the most serious types of disciplinary action that the bar association can take against an attorney include:
- Suspensions: These temporary disbarments involve an attorney taking some time away from the profession. Some suspensions may only impact an attorney’s ability to argue cases in certain courts. Some attorneys may have to take the professional responsibility portion of the state bar exam before returning to work.
- Disbarment: Any attorney who exhibits a lack of fitness to practice the profession, whether due to alcohol or drug abuse or felony convictions, may face a character investigation before the bar association determines whether they can keep their license.
Many bar associations impose counseling and fines instead of suspending an attorney’s license. Your ability to avoid a suspension or revocation of your law license is largely contingent upon how good of a defense you put up in your case. You may want to consult with an attorney about crafting a solid defense since the stakes are so high.