Office of Disciplinary Counsel

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Office of Disciplinary Counsel Operating Status during the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel is closed, and our staff is working remotely with some modifications to how services are provided.

  • Staff will continue to respond to inquiries by phone and email.
  • Complaints and filings will be accepted and reviewed, but outgoing mail correspondence is on hold.
  • You may submit a complaint or file documents by placing them in the lockbox at the office door. If you would like to file a complaint, you should submit a written statement or complete a complaint form (signed and dated), attach any relevant documents you have, and send it by fax to 202-638-0862 or by email to [email protected].

Certificates Concerning Discipline
The production of a printed certificate is temporarily suspended. The electronic delivery of a certificate will be processed upon receipt of the Certificate Request Form and payment. For questions about certificates, please email [email protected].

Purpose and Mission

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (formerly known as the Office of Bar Counsel) was created in 1972 as a result of the Court Reorganization Act, which established the D.C. Court of Appeals.

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Certificate Concerning Discipline

Procedures for obtaining a Certificate Concerning Discipline.

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Filing a Complaint

Resources and information for filing a complaint against an attorney.

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Informal Admonitions

Search for Informal Admonitions issued.

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Office of Disciplinary Counsel Staff

Staff information for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

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Disciplinary Counsel's Column in Washington Lawyer

A list of columns the Office of Disciplinary Counsel periodically contributes to Washington Lawyer, the official magazine of the D.C. Bar.

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Frequently Asked Questions for the Public

What is the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) was created by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to investigate and prosecute complaints of ethical misconduct against lawyers licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia who violate the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC).

The Rules describe a lawyer’s obligation to clients, the courts, and the general public in professional and private dealings. The purpose of this process is to protect the public by disciplining lawyers who violate the ethics rules. Our office cannot consider complaints against judges acting in a judicial capacity.

For additional information, see Purpose and Mission.

Can you represent me in court or give me legal advice?

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel cannot represent you, give you any legal advice, or change the outcome of a court decision.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel cannot refer you to an attorney. You may consult the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center to obtain information. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center sponsors a free monthly Advice & Referral Clinic, where you can speak with a lawyer at no charge to determine if you have a legal problem and possibly receive a referral to a legal or other service provider. For clinic locations and times, call the Legal Information Help Line at 202-626-3499.

Free Legal Help 

Contact the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center if you are an individual living in poverty who is at risk of losing your home, your livelihood, or your family. The Center also helps small businesses and community-based nonprofits needing legal assistance.

I am having problems with my attorney. What should I do?

Try to resolve issues with your attorney by communicating your concerns clearly and asking for a response.  Your attorney should clearly explain the fee agreement and scope of representation, keep you aware of developments in your case, and respond to any reasonable requests you may have for information.

If you feel that your problem is the result of poor communication or a misunderstanding between you and the attorney, you should have an open talk with the attorney before you file a complaint.

Can you help me contact my attorney?

The D.C. Bar’s Find a Member feature provides the same publicly available contact information for attorneys that we would be able to share with you.  If you are still unable to reach your attorney, you may need to file a complaint with our office.

Is my attorney licensed in the District of Columbia?

The D.C. Bar’s Find a Member feature enables a search of all attorneys licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.  If an attorney is not listed as authorized to practice law and is advising you about D.C. law or representing you in Superior Court, please contact the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

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