Grievances: The Process of Investigation
You should be aware that the Bar Association's investigation of a complaint is confidential, and everyone involved in the complaint must maintain this confidentiality. (You may consult with a lawyer during this process, but any other discussion of the investigation can be prosecuted as contempt of court.)
The Bar Counsel staff will review your complaint to determine whether your documents contain enough factual allegations which, if true, would constitute ethical misconduct.
If your grievance indicates that misconduct may have occurred, a copy of the grievance will be sent to the lawyer for a response. If the lawyer's response raises additional questions, you may be asked to submit more information or comments.
After a full investigation, the 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 a 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.