File a Grievance
Examples of Lawyer Conduct that May Violate the Disciplinary Rules?
Is Filing a Grievance the Right Option?
You do not have to be a client to file a grievance. Anyone can report allegations of professional misconduct or problems with a lawyer. Please see the Attorney Complaint Information brochure for answers to common questions about the grievance process (English - Spanish). If you have questions about the grievance process, call the Grievance Information Helpline at (800) 932-1900.
If you are a client and have a problem with your lawyer, first try to talk with him or her. Many times these problems can best be handled outside of the attorney grievance system. If talking to your lawyer does not resolve the problem, call our Client-Attorney Assistance Program (CAAP) for help at: 1-800-932-1900.
You may also contact the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel (CDC) in your area.
Examples of lawyer conduct that May violate the Disciplinary Rules:
The lawyer does not return client phone calls, emails, or letters.
The lawyer failed to appear in court or has missed deadlines.
The lawyer refuses to return a client’s file after a request is made.
The lawyer seems to have a substance abuse problem that affects his/her ability to practice.
The lawyer has not paid the client’s part of the settlement after the case has settled.
What the Grievance System Cannot Do
The State Bar of Texas' attorney grievance system cannot act as a liaison between you and the lawyer, nor can it:
Alter the decision made in a civil or criminal matter;
Substitute for civil or criminal remedies;
Force an attorney to proceed with a case;
Provide you with another lawyer;
Provide legal advice; or
Solve a fee dispute;
The above concerns must be handled in another forum, separate from
the State Bar's lawyer grievance system.
If you are concerned with the fee arrangement established with your lawyer, please know that many local bar associations which are not affiliated with the State Bar have set up fee dispute committees to work with clients and their lawyers. Your local bar association's phone number can be found in your local telephone directory or on the local bar websites section of our website.
The State Commission on Judicial Conduct has a separate process for reviewing concerns/grievances against Texas judges.
State Commission on Judicial Conduct
PO Box 12265
Austin, Texas 78711-2265
The State Bar's toll-free Grievance Information Helpline (1-800-932-1900) can also help you determine whether to report the conduct of the lawyer and whether other resources might be beneficial.
How Do I File A Grievance?
The first step in filing a grievance is to complete a grievance form
through our online submission
system. The forms are also available in pdf format: English
Please be sure to send copies of all supporting documents such as letters, pleadings (court documents), emails, etc. Do not send originals.
If you are reporting the conduct of your current or former lawyer, it is important to know that signing the grievance (complaint) form waives the attorney-client privilege that would otherwise keep discussions between you and your lawyer confidential. Waiver of this privilege is necessary for the State Bar to review your complaint.
Steps for Filing a Grievance
The first step in filing a grievance is to complete a grievance form through our online submission system. The forms are also available in pdf format: English or Spanish.
Fill out the grievance form completely. Answer every question as best you can.
Be sure to attach copies (not originals) of any documents that you believe will help explain your grievance.
Mail your copies of your documents to:
State Bar of Texas
Chief Disciplinary Counsel's Office
P.O. Box 13287
Austin, Texas 78711
Or fax it to (512) 427-4169
What Happens After I File My Grievance
The first step in the process is a review and determination of whether the grievance, on its face, alleges professional misconduct. This determination is referred to as classification of the grievance and is made within 30 days of the filing of the grievance If it alleges facts that, if true, would be a violation of the disciplinary rules, it will be classified as a formal complaint. If it does not allege facts that are a violation, it will be classified as an "inquiry" and dismissed. You will be notified of this decision. You may appeal a dismissal to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals, and its decision is final. If you have new or additional information that was not included in your first grievance, you may amend your grievance and re-file it within twenty (20) days of the date you receive the dismissal notice.
If your grievance becomes a formal complaint , the attorney in question will be informed and asked to respond to the allegations within 30 days. The Chief Disciplinary Counsel conducts an investigation to determine whether there is just cause to believe the alleged professional misconduct occurred. Based on its findings, the matter is either presented to a grievance panel for dismissal or proceeds to litigation. Please see the Attorney Complaint Information brochure (pdf) for answers to common questions about the grievance process (English - Spanish).
The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel keeps confidential all information concerning any pending grievance(s). However, if the lawyer is found to have committed professional misconduct and receives a public sanction, information about the grievance is no longer confidential. All dismissed grievance files are disposed of, in accordance with Rule 2.13 of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.
Ombudsman for Attorney Discipline
The Supreme Court of Texas created an ombudsman to be an independent source of information for the public and a monitor of the attorney discipline system. Learn more about the ombudsman here.