All states have attorney discipline boards or committees that accept informal or formal complaints from aggrieved clients. In matters that involve misconduct more than incompetency, this may be the forum of choice. Generally, disciplinary boards have authority to impose fines, order restitution to a client, and suspend or revoke a lawyer’s license to practice law in that state. Clients also may wish to consider alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation, to settle their claims of alleged malpractice.
Finally, it is worth noting that attorneys are generally required to advise their clients of known instances of actionable malpractice that have harmed the client or caused loss or damage. By far, the majority of attorneys are honest, competent, and committed to providing good service, and will so advise clients in the event of a known failure. However, what may appear to a layman as “malpractice” at first blush, may in reality constitute no more than a decision or tactic employed by the attorney that conflicts with a client’s expectation of likely action or outcome. Persons who believe that their attorneys may have committed malpractice are encouraged to consult with legal counsel who specialize in the area of professional malpractice.