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Who should you report attorney misconduct to?

by | Mar 17, 2019 | Legal Malpractice |

Dealing with legal issues in Florida can be a daunting task due to your relative unfamiliarity with the law and legal proceedings. Working with an attorney can be equally as intimidating given such a professional’s knowledge of complex legal subjects and experience in dealing with law enforcement and/or courtroom officials. It is understandable, then, that you might be extremely nervous about reporting the misconduct of an attorney or judge. Yet failing to do so can cause significant damage to your own case and undermine your credibility if it is believed you know about their incorrect actions and did nothing. 

Oddly enough, the best resource through which you can ensure that an attorney’s misconduct is appropriately dealt with is another attorney. You might think that another lawyer would want to stand up for a fellow colleague, yet such a professional likely does not want to be associated with any affair that could damage the reputation of their profession. Even if an attorney is not overly concerned with public perception, however, they have a legal duty to report the inappropriate actions of other lawyers. 

The American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct mandate that an attorney report the professional misconduct of another lawyer to the correct authorities. “Professional misconduct” in this context refers to any conduct that would into question one’s ‘honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer.” The same obligation is imposed on attorney’s to report judges who have acted inappropriately. 

The only scenario in which an attorney might be excluded from being bound by this obligation to report misconduct would be when doing so could potentially violate the standards imposed by the concept of attorney-client privilege.