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Professional Responsibility Board

Frequently Asked Questions


Supreme Court Building

Confidentiality and Attorney Records
expand  Can I find out if an attorney has been disciplined?
expand  Can I tell my lawyer that I filed a complaint against him/her?
Yes.
   
 
expand  Can I tell my new lawyer that I filed a complaint against my former lawyer?
expand  Will my lawyer find out about my complaint?
Unless good cause is shown to withhold the information from the respondent attorney,  Disciplinary Counsel will send a copy of the letter of complaint to the lawyer, requesting  a response.  A copy of that response is not provided to the complainant.
   
 
expand  Will the information I send you remain confidential?

Filing a Complaint
expand  Can I file a complaint against a judge?
expand  How do I file a complaint?
All complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant.  There is no complaint form.   Please be sure to include your mailing address, an email address if available, and a daytime telephone number where you can be reached.  A delay in filing a complaint could also make it more difficult for the lawyer or others to take corrective action.  To view our Complaint Brochureclick here.
   
 
expand  Is there a time limit or deadline on filing a complaint?
expand  Must I be represented in order to file a complaint?
No.
   
 
expand  What does it cost to file a complaint?
expand  What kind of documentation do you need?
While you should gather and organize as many relevant documents you need to support the allegation of misconduct and may refer to them in your letter of complaint, please do not send documents to Disciplinary Counsel, unless and until, he asks you for them.
   
 

Structure of the Lawyer Disciplinary Process and the Rules of Professional Responsibility
expand  Are there any kinds of cases you don't handle?
expand  Can I get a copy of the rules?
The Rules of Professional Conduct are available on this webpage under Rules of Professional Conduct.
 Administrative Order NO. 9 is the rules which govern how the disciplinary system works.
   
 
expand  What are the Vermont Rules of Professional Conduct?
expand  What disciplinary action can be taken against a lawyer?
Discipline can be imposed in two forms – private and public discipline.
 
Private discipline of “Informal Admonitions,” can be imposed as by agreement between the parties or by a hearing panel at the conclusion of a hearing.
 All other discipline is public.  An attorney who is reprimanded will be publicly sanctioned;   the attorney’s name and violation will be reported to the media.  An attorney who is suspended for less than six months may not practice law until the suspension period ends.  An attorney who is suspended for more than six months or who is disbarred,  loses his/her license to practice law and cannot be reinstated unless the lawyer proves that he or she has been rehabilitated and is fit to practice.  See Rule 22(D), AO9.
   
 
expand  What if I don't have internet access? Can you send me a copy?
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What you Should Expect
expand  Are you part of the Bar Association? Can I file a complaint with the Bar Association?
expand  Can the Governor or my State Representative help? How about the Attorney General’s Office or the Consumer Assistance Program?
Under the Constitution of Vermont, the Supreme Court of Vermont has exclusive jurisdiction to oversee the conduct of lawyers. Also under the Constitution of Vermont, neither the Governor nor the State Legislature has any power over the regulation of the conduct of lawyers, an area of authority which the Constitution reserves exclusively to the Vermont Supreme Court. The Supreme Court of Vermont has delegated much of this authority to the Professional Responsibility Program. Most of the functions of the Professional Responsibility Program are carried out by two Disciplinary Counsel and one part-time Bar Counsel, one Program Administrator and one Administrative Assistant.
 
The Attorney General has a limited role in that he can investigate and prosecute criminal conduct such as practicing law without a license or embezzling client funds. Matters relevant to both or one of these functions are routinely referred back and forth between the Attorney General’s Office and the Professional Responsibility Program.
 
 
   
 
expand  Do I have the right to attend any disciplinary hearing that might be held in connection with my complaint?
expand  Do I need a lawyer to file a complaint?
No, but you may hire one if you choose to. Most complainants do not.
 
   
 
expand  Does Disciplinary Counsel contact you once you file a complaint?
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