Office of Disciplinary Counsel

What Should You Expect

  • Print Page

What You Should Expect

  • You will receive written notification by mail that your complaint was received and assigned a file number for future reference.
  • A fair and impartial investigation, wherein staff will communicate with you, the attorney, and in some cases other parties to obtain information. Your complaint will be reviewed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to ensure that it falls within the jurisdiction of the office and evaluated to determine if there are issues which form the basis of a disciplinary investigation. If the complaint falls within the office’s jurisdiction, it will be assigned to an attorney to conduct a preliminary inquiry or a disciplinary investigation. The assigned attorney will notify you if they are conducting a preliminary inquiry or if they are undertaking a confidential investigation of your complaint. You will be contacted if additional information is needed.
  • After the preliminary inquiry or disciplinary investigation is completed, you will receive by mail official notification of the disposition of your complaint. The complaint may be resolved through a review process, which includes one of the following: 
    • Dismissal of the complaint.
    • Impose private discipline (diversion agreement).
    • Impose public discipline (informal admonition).
    • File formal disciplinary charges against the attorney. 

What You Should Not Expect

  • Representation, assistance or advice from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel or the Board on Professional Responsibility with respect to your legal matter.
  • A referral by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel to a new lawyer to handle your legal matter.
  • Reimbursement or other monetary compensation from the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. If you are unhappy about a legal fee, in addition to contacting our office you may wish to file a fee dispute with the D.C. Bar’s Attorney/Client Arbitration Board.  If you have lost funds due to an attorney’s dishonest conduct, you may be able to seek reimbursement from the D.C. Bar’s Clients’ Security Fund.