Disciplinary Matters with the State Bar
All attorneys who practice in Nevada must be registered members of the State Bar of Nevada and are subject to discipline by the State Bar. The most common disciplinary issues that arise from attorney misconduct include fee disputes, contractual disputes, and timeline and deadline issues. If you are an attorney who is facing discipline, this guide will provide you an overview of what to expect during your case, and how the attorneys at Pitaro & Fumo can help.
A client has filed a fee dispute with the State Bar of Nevada, what happens next?
The first step for most fee disputes is the State Bar of Nevada’s Fee Dispute Mediation and Arbitration Program. The program is a no-cost service offered by the State Bar designed to resolve fee disputes of $250 of more between attorneys and clients. Either party to a fee dispute – the client or the attorney – may file a fee dispute if other efforts to communicate and resolve the difference do not work. Importantly, the program is voluntary and neither the attorney nor the client can be compelled to participate.
Members of the State Bar’s Fee Dispute Committee volunteer as impartial mediators and arbitrators to determine what the reasonable fees should be for the legal services performed. The majority of cases will go to a mediation first, while a select few cases may start with arbitration.
If the dispute cannot be settled through either mediation or arbitration, either party may proceed to file a lawsuit.
A client has filed an ethical complaint with the State Bar of Nevada, what happens next?
Any client who feels that their attorney has violated the rules of professional conduct may file a complaint against that attorney with the State Bar of Nevada by mailing a written complaint to the State Bar or by using the State Bar’s online form.
Once a complaint is received, the State Bar of Nevada’s Office of Bar Counsel will review the complaint and investigate the allegations of professional misconduct, pursuant to the Rules of Professional Conduct. This initial review usually occurs within ten business days.
If the client has raised a potentially valid issue under the Rules of Professional Conduct, the Office of Bar Counsel will send a letter to the attorney in question, directing them to respond to the allegation within ten business days. Once the attorney’s response is received, the Office of Bar Counsel will review the response to determine if further investigation is necessary.
If there is reason to believe that the attorney committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the State Bar will open a formal case against the attorney.