Submitting a Charge
If you believe an attorney, alternative business structure (ABS), or Legal Paraprofessional (LP) has acted unethically or unprofessionally, you may report that conduct through the State Bar’s Intake Department Hotline:
800.319.0514 (ext. 7280)
While the State Bar does accept charges submitted in writing we encourage you to call the Intake Hotline prior to submitting a written charge. An Intake lawyer can discuss your charge and guide you through the process. Before calling; please read the following information about the Intake Process.
If you have spoken to an Intake lawyer and would like to submit a written charge, click here.
The Intake Process
Most complaints about misconduct start with a call to the Intake Department Hotline. An Intake Assistant will gather very basic information about the complaint. You need not provide all your information at this time. The matter will be assigned to an Intake Bar Counsel who will contact you to get the detailed information about your complaint.
The Intake Assistant needs only the following information:
- Your name and contact information
- If you have made a prior complaint you should let the assistant know so she can verify your contact information is current
- The name of the respondent attorney, ABS, or LP
- Whether the respondent represents you or someone else
- If the respondent represents someone else, the name of the person they represent
- If there is a court case, the name of the court and the court case number
- A very basic description of the alleged misconduct
The Intake Assistant will create an electronic file in our case management system and your matter will be assigned to an Intake Bar Counsel.
Intake Bar Counsel will contact you to gather details about your complaint before they contact the respondent. During this discussion Intake Bar Counsel may give you feedback on whether your complaint implicates ethical or professional issues. Unfortunately, this feedback is often misinterpreted as a defense of the respondent, when it merely is an attempt to secure a better understanding of the complaint and the evidence to support it.
Usually Intake Bar Counsel will then contact the respondent, discuss your concerns, and gather relevant information or documents.
Intake Bar Counsel will then conduct any additional investigation, which may include additional contact with you or the retrieval and review of documents. Do not come to the State Bar office without an appointment; if Intake Bar Counsel deems it necessary to meet in person they will let you know.
Intake Bar Counsel will then either:
- Dismiss the matter with or without instructional comment to the Respondent;
- Offer Diversion for remedial measures; or
- Send the matter to a Screening Investigation.
Respondent: Attorney, ABS, or LP under investigation.
Complainant: Person making the complaint.
Bar Charge: A complaint against an attorney, ABS, or LP.
Intake Bar Counsel: A State Bar attorney who preliminary investigates a Bar Charge.
Litigation Bar Counsel: A State Bar attorney who conducts formal investigations and formal discipline proceedings.
Charges received by the State Bar of Arizona are resolved in several ways:
Charges are dismissed if the conduct alleged does not violate the Rules of Professional Conduct contained in Rule 42 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona.
Low-level violations or client relation problems may be resolved by the Intake Department. If the charges against a respondent are found to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, the respondent may be referred to a diversion program.
More serious violations, or repeated violations, may result in any of the following orders against a respondent:
- Order to pay Restitution and/or Costs;
- Order of Admonition and/or Probation;
- Order of Reprimand, Suspension, or Disbarment; or
- License revocation.