New Jersey Legal Ethics Defense Lawyers
Experienced Defense Attorneys Represent Lawyers Accused of Violating the Rules of Legal Ethics in Essex County, Union County, Morris County, Middlesex County, Bergen County and Somerset County, NJ
The legal profession places a high value on the ethical conduct of practicing lawyers and, as any lawyer knows, the risk of becoming subject to investigation on a disciplinary matter is always present. While frivolous complaints do occur, your reputation can be tarnished by even the hint of an ethical violation—and serious allegations require a measured and serious response even if they may be unfounded.
At Zegas Law, we know that your reputation and professional future may be at stake if the ethics matter involved is significant. We remain actively involved in the legal community so that we have a detailed understanding not only of the rules of professional conduct, but also of the practices and procedures involved in the attorney disciplinary process. We regularly handle matters before the District Ethics Committee, the Office of Attorney Ethics and the New Jersey Supreme Court itself. Our lawyers have the substantial experience and knowledge necessary to prepare written answers on your behalf, respond to evidentiary requests and advocate on your behalf at all stages of the disciplinary process.
When your career is on the line, you cannot afford to risk self-representation or place your trust in an attorney without specific experience handling attorney disciplinary matters. We understand that emotions may be heightened, and you may be entering the disciplinary process for the first time. Our lawyers are dedicated to providing the highest quality legal representation and ensuring that you understand every step of the disciplinary process, potential outcomes and all available options. If you are facing scrutiny for a legal ethics violation in North Jersey, call or contact our office for a confidential consultation today.
Circumstances Giving Rise to Claims of Legal Ethics Violations in Northern New Jersey
Claims of legal ethics violations in North Jersey are not entirely uncommon, and may often arise out of a misunderstanding or a client’s dissatisfaction with their case outcome. In other cases, the grievance may be much more serious. Our experienced lawyers can help if a grievance has been filed against you for a legal ethics violation, including under circumstances alleging that you:
- Provided conflicted legal counsel,
- Engaged in improper or illegal billing practices,
- Failed to communicate with the client and so failed to provide adequate legal counsel,
- Violated a legal advertising rule,
- Missed a filing deadline or court appearance,
- Made fraudulent statements or misrepresented the facts to the client,
- Misused or stole client funds,
- Abused alcohol or drugs in a way that impacted your legal representation.
Skilled Defense Lawyers Guide Attorney Clients Through the Entire Attorney Disciplinary Process in North Jersey
The attorney disciplinary process works differently than the New Jersey criminal or civil judicial process. Essentially, the investigative process is triggered when a client, or even a judge or another attorney, files a grievance against the attorney for violating the rules of professional conduct. The Office of Attorney Ethics provides a form that can be used by the complainant to begin the process. You will receive a copy of all documentation filed by the complainant and have the opportunity to file a written response. At this point, assuming the complaint proceeds, an investigator will meet with all parties and their counsel to gain a fuller understanding of the complaint and defense, and will conduct an investigation that involves a request for documents and even interviews with third party witnesses.
After the investigation has concluded, the investigator will file a report indicating whether the complaint can proceed—i.e., whether the grievance can be established based upon the clear and convincing evidence standard. Your investigation may either be overseen by the District Ethics Committee or the Office of Attorney Ethics itself, but the process is essentially the same.
After the investigation, if a complaint is filed, a hearing will be held in a local courtroom to establish if, based upon the heightened clear and convincing standard, a violation of the legal ethics rules occurred. Depending upon the outcome, an appeal may be possible, and the case may proceed through the Disciplinary Review Board and as far as the New Jersey Supreme Court, where an order will be issued and disciplinary action decided upon.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation with Our Reputable Essex County, NJ Defense Lawyers to Discuss Your Legal Ethics Matter Today
Even as a skilled attorney, you may find yourself in unfamiliar territory when faced with a claim that you violated the New Jersey legal ethics rules. Our lawyers have the specialized experience handling attorney disciplinary matters that you need to ensure the best possible outcome under the circumstances. Schedule a confidential consultation to tell us what happened and learn about options in your matter.
Frequently Asked Questions About Legal Ethics in North Jersey Cases
FAQ: What is the difference between the Office of Attorney Ethics and the District Ethics Committee?
The Office of Attorney Ethics is staffed with paid professionals, some of which have a legal background and others with law enforcement qualifications, while the District Ethics Committees (located throughout the state) are staffed with volunteer lawyers. Essentially, the outcome of the investigation at either level may be the same, although more serious matters tend to be referred to the Office of Attorney Ethics, which actually oversees the District Ethics Committees.
FAQ: What if the allegations that I violated a legal ethics rule are entirely baseless?
The investigative process occurs before a formal complaint is lodged to prevent baseless claims from proceeding through the system. In these situations, the investigative period is treated more like a period of discovery, where all sides gather and present evidence before it is determined whether sufficient evidence exists to warrant further proceedings. Our lawyers will analyze all available evidence to build a compelling argument that your case should be dismissed before proceeding to hearings on the matter.
FAQ: Will the allegations that I violated the legal ethics rules be treated as a civil matter?
No, there is a difference between civil litigation and the attorney disciplinary process. If the matter proceeds to hearings, the case will be heard by legal professionals with specialized experience in the rules of professional conduct. Further, the standard of proof that the complainant must satisfy is higher than the preponderance of the evidence standard that applies in civil matters, and the rules of evidence are somewhat relaxed in the attorney disciplinary process. The most important aspect of the process is that we present a clear and supported explanation of your conduct and why it did not constitute a violation of the legal ethics rules.