Attorney Ethics

New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics

The New Jersey disciplinary process can be complex and unpredictable. Representation by experienced counsel with knowledge of the disciplinary process and familiarity with the officials who participate in the process can make a significant difference in the timing and nature of the outcome.

We have substantial experience handling matters at all stages of the disciplinary process, including before District Ethics Committees (DEC), the Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE), Special Ethics Masters, the Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) and the New Jersey Supreme Court. While many grievances are determined to have no merit and are resolved after the investigation stage, any allegation of attorney misconduct can result in severe consequences and must be addressed expeditiously and vigorously.

Attorney Grievance Defense

Commitment to clients and their needs is not always enough to prevent a client from filing a grievance. Communication problems, unrealistic client expectations — and even personality conflicts — can sometimes be enough to trigger a grievance. Although a grievance may have little merit, going through the investigative process can interfere with an attorney’s professional practice and entire life. Allegations of unethical conduct may include:

  • Failure to turn over funds owed to a client or provide a written accounting for the funds
  • Intentional or negligent misappropriation of client funds
  • Failure to keep accurate or sufficient financial records
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Failure to pursue a matter diligently
  • Lack of candor

If unethical misconduct is proven, the disciplinary process can result in a number of different sanctions, including admonition, reprimand, censure, suspension from practice, or disbarment. Given the serious nature of the potential consequences, it is imperative to respond to any client grievance as quickly and thoroughly as possible to minimize the impact of the investigation and any sanction imposed. We are well-versed in developing strategies to avoid or mitigate the impact of a disciplinary investigation and zealously advocate to protect our clients' professional careers and reputations.