You should be aware that the Bar Association’s review and/or investigation of a complaint is confidential. You may discuss the issues in your complaint but you cannot notify others that you have filed a complaint. (You may consult with a lawyer during this process, but any other discussion of a filed complaint can be prosecuted as contempt of court.)
Bar Counsel’s staff will review your complaint to determine whether it meets with certain technical requirements and if it does it will be sent to the lawyer for an optional response.
Once the lawyer’s response has been received (or the time to respond has expired) your complaint will be reviewed by Bar Counsel.
If the lawyer’s response raises additional questions, you may be asked to submit more information or comments.
If Bar Counsel feels misconduct may have occurred, the complaint will be fully investigated. After a full investigation, Bar Counsel will either:
- dismiss the grievance if the evidence does not show unethical conduct;
- issue a written private admonition which is placed in the lawyer’s record at the Bar Association;
- file a petition for formal hearing, or enter a stipulation for discipline, either of which will be taken to the Disciplinary Board and/or the Alaska Supreme Court.
Reviewing Bar Counsel’s Decision
If your complaint is not accepted for investigation by Bar Counsel, you may appeal that decision by writing a letter to the Bar Association with your reasons for disagreeing with the action. The Board’s Discipline Liaison will review the record in your complaint and decide your appeal.
If your complaint is dismissed after investigation by Bar Counsel, you may appeal that decision by writing a letter to the Bar Association with your reasons for disagreeing with the action. A hearing committee member will review the record in your complaint and decide your appeal.