How Do I File A Complaint Against an Attorney?

by Hans

Attorneys play a crucial role in upholding the principles of justice and providing legal assistance to individuals. However, there may be instances when you encounter unprofessional conduct, unethical behavior, or a breach of fiduciary duty by an attorney. In such cases, it is essential to be aware of the process to file a complaint against the attorney. This article will guide you through the necessary steps and provide valuable resources for filing a complaint.

Understanding the Importance of Filing a Complaint:

Filing a complaint against an attorney serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it helps maintain the integrity of the legal profession by addressing misconduct and ensuring accountability. Secondly, it protects the interests of clients who have suffered due to an attorney’s negligence or unethical behavior. Finally, filing a complaint can contribute to improving the legal system as a whole, as patterns of misconduct can be identified and addressed.

Steps to Follow When Filing a Complaint Against an Attorney:

  1. Document the Issue: Before filing a complaint, it is crucial to gather all relevant information and documentation related to the attorney’s misconduct or negligence. This may include correspondence, contracts, invoices, or any other evidence that supports your claim.
  2. Contact the State Bar Association: In most jurisdictions, the state bar association regulates the legal profession. Visit the website of your state bar association to understand the process and requirements for filing a complaint. Look for a dedicated section or division that deals with attorney complaints or disciplinary actions.
  3. Fill Out the Complaint Form: The state bar association will likely have a specific complaint form that you need to complete. Provide detailed information about the attorney involved, the nature of the misconduct, and any supporting evidence. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and attach relevant documents as required.
  4. Submit the Complaint: Once you have completed the complaint form, submit it to the appropriate department or division of the state bar association. Pay attention to any filing fees that may be applicable and ensure that your complaint is filed within the designated timeframe.
  5. Cooperate with the Investigation: After filing the complaint, the state bar association will initiate an investigation into the matter. It is essential to cooperate fully with the investigators, provide additional information if requested, and promptly respond to any inquiries. Your cooperation will assist in expediting the investigation process.

Resources for Filing a Complaint: Legal Citations and External Links:

  1. Legal Citations: Depending on the jurisdiction, specific laws and regulations govern attorney complaints. Consult the rules of professional conduct or disciplinary rules set forth by your state bar association. For instance, in California, the State Bar Act (Business and Professions Code) and the California Rules of Professional Conduct can provide valuable insights.
  2. External Links: The following external links provide further guidance and resources for filing a complaint against an attorney:
  • State Bar Association Directory – A comprehensive directory of state bar associations across the United States. Find the website for your state bar association to access specific information about filing complaints.
  • ABA’s Consumer’s Guide to Legal Help – A resource by the American Bar Association (ABA) that provides information on finding legal help, including the process of filing attorney complaints.


Filing a complaint against an attorney is an important step towards addressing misconduct, protecting the interests of clients, and upholding the integrity of the legal profession. By following the outlined steps and utilizing the resources provided, you can navigate the complaint process effectively. Remember, holding attorneys accountable contributes to a more just and trustworthy legal system for all.

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