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FAQ’s Regarding Filing a Grievance Against an Idaho Attorney

The Idaho State Bar appreciates your concern in helping to maintain the quality of the legal profession in Idaho. You may be assured that all grievances will be handled in an appropriate and thorough manner.

If I believe an Idaho attorney has violated the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct, where do I file a grievance?

You may file a grievance by sending it in writing to:

Idaho State Bar
Office of Bar Counsel
PO Box 895
Boise, ID 83701


What is the Idaho State Bar?

The Idaho State Bar is the administrative agency of the judicial branch of the State of Idaho. The membership of the Idaho State Bar consists of all attorneys licensed to practice law in Idaho. Bar Counsel is the disciplinary counsel for the Idaho State Bar.


What are the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct?

The Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct are the rules governing the professional conduct of all attorneys in the State of Idaho. You can view them by clicking: Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct


What is attorney misconduct?

Attorney misconduct is any violation of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct which may include, but is not limited to: improper use of trust account money, conflict of interest, breach of confidentiality, neglect, lack of communication, etc.


How do I file a grievance against an attorney?

A grievance against an attorney must be submitted in writing, unless prior approval is received in special circumstances. The Grievance Form Packet is available in PDF format. If you are unable to open and print the PDF version, contact Bar Counsel’s Office to request a copy by mail.  Complete and return the form with a written, detailed explanation of the reasons you are filing the grievance against the attorney. Include as much factual data as possible (dates, names, phone numbers, amounts of money involved, etc.). If possible, organize the information in chronological order. The grievance must be signed by you. Attach copies of any documents which will help explain the grievance; do NOT send any original documents. If more information is needed for our investigation, we will contact you.


Is my grievance confidential?

We may send a copy of your grievance to the attorney as part of our investigation. By Rule, Bar Counsel’s Office keeps the grievance confidential as between the attorney and grievant unless the grievance is serious enough to merit formal charges.


What will the Idaho State Bar do with my grievance?

Bar Counsel’s Office reviews all grievances to determine if there has been any violation of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct. After an initial investigation of your grievance, you will receive a letter from Bar Counsel’s Office informing you that: (1) there was not clear and convincing evidence of unprofessional conduct; (2) more information is needed; or (3) additional investigation is being conducted as to possible violations. If the investigation establishes that there have been no violations of the Rules or if there is insufficient evidence to prove that a violation has occurred, the grievance will be dismissed and you will be informed of the reasons for dismissal by letter. If it is determined that a violation has occurred, the attorney may receive private discipline or, in some cases, formal charges may be filed. If the attorney receives private discipline, you will be informed of the sanction in writing — information concerning private discipline is not released to the public by Bar Counsel’s Office. Grievances resulting in formal charges can involve sanctions ranging from public reprimand to disbarment. Click on this link to view Bar Counsel’s disciplinary flow chart to see how grievances are processed. FLOW CHART


How long does it take to resolve a grievance filed against an attorney?

Each case varies according to its complexity; a typical case takes approximately three to four months before a decision is reached. Cases that are more complex or involve the filing of formal charges will take longer. We make every effort to ensure that the disposition of each grievance is handled as quickly and thoroughly as possible.


Can I appeal the decision?

Yes. If you feel the decision was incorrect, you may file a written request to have the decision reviewed. Likewise, the attorney can request a review of Bar Counsel’s decision. A 3-member panel, consisting of two lawyers and one non-lawyer, will then review the grievance and decision.


Does the Idaho State Bar have jurisdiction over legal matters?

No. The Idaho State Bar only has jurisdiction over violations of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct. We do not handle allegations of legal malpractice. If you feel that you have been monetarily damaged by your attorney’s actions or if you feel you may have some legal recourse, you should consider discussing the matter with private legal counsel. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL BAR COUNSEL HAS ISSUED ITS DECISION ON YOUR GRIEVANCE BEFORE TAKING ANY LEGAL ACTION. The Idaho State Bar cannot represent your individual interests in the matter or become involved in any legal matter which might relate to your grievance. Additionally, Bar Counsel’s Office cannot answer legal questions or give legal advice.


What if I feel that my attorney’s fees are too high?

There is no such thing as a “standard fee” for a particular type of case. If you feel that your attorney’s fees are too high, you may wish to discuss the matter directly with your attorney or submit the fee dispute to the Idaho State Bar’s free Fee Arbitration.


What if I feel that my attorney misappropriated my funds?

Client Assistance Fund has been created to compensate clients for all or part of any losses caused by the “dishonest conduct” of a lawyer admitted to practice law in Idaho. Please note that legal malpractice and violations of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct do not necessarily constitute “dishonest conduct” for purposes of the Client Assistance Fund. If you believe that an attorney has engaged in dishonest conduct, which may include the misappropriation of funds, you may file a Client Assistance Fund Claim form. Additionally, you may file a grievance against the attorney alleging misconduct.

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