How to File a Complaint Against an Attorney
The State Bar of Nevada's Office of Bar Counsel investigates allegations of professional misconduct, pursuant to the Rules of Professional Conduct. If you wish to file a complaint, it must be in writing, either by U.S. Mail or via the online complaint form.
- Submit your complaint via U.S. Mail or fax it to the closest State Bar of Nevada Office of Bar Counsel address listed at the bottom of this section. You may also file your complaint online.
- No special form is necessary to file a complaint. However, a guide for what information to submit is below. Please be as complete as possible when submitting your complaint.
- Attach copies of pertinent documents, such as court documents, fee agreements, etc., which will assist us in evaluating your claim. You may attach documents to the online complaint form; however, it is recommended that large documents be sent via U.S. Mail.
Guide to Filing a Complaint:
- Your contact information: Provide your name, address, email address and telephone number(s). Once your complaint has been filed, please be sure update the Office of Bar Counsel with any changes to this information.
- Attorney contact information: Provide the name of the attorney and law firm, including the city and state where services were rendered.
- Previous contacts with the State Bar of Nevada: Please list previous contacts with the state bar (i.e. when and how you contacted us, file or case number, etc.)
- Hiring the attorney: Please provide information about how you hired/retained the attorney about whom you are complaining (i.e. When did the representation begin? What was the fee arrangement? How much have you paid the lawyer to date?) If you did not hire/retain the lawyer about whom you are complaining, please explain your connection to the lawyer.
- Witnesses: List the names and contact information of witnesses who have direct knowledge of your allegations regarding the attorney.
- Litigation: if your complaint is related to a court case or other proceeding, please provide the case name, case number and name of the court or agency. (For example: Smith v. Jones, Case No. 1234, Eighth Judicial District Court)
- Explanation of grievance: In narrative form, please provide a comprehensive and detailed description of the persons and events involved in the conduct which you believe constitutes a breach of professional ethics. In essence, provide us a story about what occurred in the legal matter underlying your complaint. It is not necessary for you to cite specific Rules of Professional Conduct. However, it is very important that a complete and thorough explanation of events and dates be provided. There is no limit to the amount of space that can, and should, be utilized.
- Complaint resolution: Please acknowledge that you have attempted to first resolve this matter by contacting the attorney directly and provide an explanation of the results of your attempt.
- Written materials: Please provide copies of letters or documents which serve as material evidence of the allegations you have raised against the attorney. This includes:
A copy of any written fee agreement with the attorney. If there was no written agreement, please explain your understanding regarding payment to your attorney (for legal fees, costs, etc.)
Copies of the front and back sides of all canceled checks and/or copies of receipts showing payments made by you to the attorney.
Copies of any pertinent court documents, particularly pleadings and judicial orders, in your posession.
Copies of all correspondence between you and the attorney.
Timeframes for Investigation:
Once we have received your complaint we will review it to determine if there is an issue under the Rules of Professional Conduct. This initial review usually occurs within ten business days of receipt. If more information is needed you will be notified. If you have raised an issue under the Rules of Professional Conduct, we will forward a letter to the attorney and direct him or her to respond to our office in writing within ten (10) business days with an explanation. Based on the attorney's response, we will then determine what further investigation might be necessary.
The investigation and review process can take as little as one month or as long as six months or more. You will be kept informed of the status of the matter as it progresses. You should recognize, however, that the Disciplinary Board cannot and does not give legal advice, does not have jurisdiction over damage or malpractice claims against attorneys and cannot alter or affect in any way the outcome of private legal matters in court. If you need additional advice on your case, you must obtain the assistance of your own attorney.
Alternative to Filing a Complaint:
If your issue pertains to the fees charged by your attorney, you may take advantage of the bar's voluntary Fee Dispute program. Members of the Fee Dispute Committee can help you resolve fee issues through mediation or arbitration. The Fee Dispute program operates independently from the Office of Bar Counsel and you may elect to file both a fee dispute with the Fee Dispute Committee and an ethical complaint with the Office of Bar Counsel.
If we determine that your complaint is a fee dispute, we will forward the forms which are utilized for the filing of a complaint with the Fee Dispute Arbitration Committee.