Frequently Asked Questions

About Lawyer Discipline

Do discipline charges remain confidential?

If a charge is dismissed, either with or without a full investigation, the records become open to the public at the time the State Bar notifies the complainant of the disposition.  The files remain public for six months following notification. 

Records of charges that result in a diversion agreement or an order of diversion are confidential. 

Records of charges that result in the imposition of a sanction or other Committee order pursuant to Rule 55, Ariz. R. Sup. Ct., generally become open to the public upon entry of an order by the Committee.  Records of these charges remain public indefinitely. 

Do I need a lawyer to represent me if I file a charge against a lawyer?
You do not need to have an attorney represent you if you file a charge against a lawyer. The State Bar staff bar counsel will investigate the charges and, if necessary, prosecute the lawyer in a disciplinary hearing.

Does the State Bar represent me if I file a charge against a lawyer?
The State Bar does not represent you and cannot assist you in resolving ongoing legal problems. You should consult your own lawyer to advise you of your rights or potential legal recourse against the lawyer.

Can I withdraw my charge once it is made?
No. Once a charge has been made against a lawyer, the State Bar must investigate and make a determination as to whether the lawyer engaged in unethical conduct. A complainant's unwillingness or failure to cooperate with the State Bar or a settlement or compromise made between the complainant and the lawyer will not cause the charges to be dropped.

I cannot respond to a request for more information in the time stated in the letter sent to me. Can I have more time to respond?
Reasonable requests for an extension of time to respond to a request for information will normally be granted.

I have a hearing [or a trial, or a meeting] coming up and I can't get my file from my lawyer. Can the State Bar help?
The State Bar cannot make a lawyer appear for you at a hearing or trial and does not have the power to make the lawyer give you back your file. However, this type of behavior may be unethical and it will be considered by bar counsel in making a recommendation for disposition of the matter.

Will I get the documents and papers back that I send to the State Bar?
Anything you send to this office becomes the property of the State Bar and cannot be returned to you. If you do request copies of any documents not otherwise provided to you by the State Bar of Arizona, you will be required to pay a copy charge of $0.50 per page, payable in advance. If you want to keep a copy of any documentation you provide to the State Bar of Arizona, it is advisable to have copies made prior to sending it to the State Bar.

Who can practice law in Arizona?
Only members of the State Bar of Arizona and other persons who are authorized by a specific provision in the Arizona Supreme Court's rules may practice law in Arizona.