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Facing the possibility of a suspended law license

The State Bar of California takes seriously any accusations of professional misconduct. Recently, a number of lawyers have made the news for their roles in questionable activities. If the bar has notified you that a committee is investigating you for such accusations, you can be assured that the investigation will be thorough with the intention of finding the truth and preserving the integrity of the law profession.

Depending on the severity of the complaints against you, you may be facing the possibility of having your license suspended. A license suspension can have a serious impact on your life and your immediate future as well as long-term ramifications.

Competence and character: Are you fit to practice law?

When you think about the sacrifices you've made over that past few years, it may frustrate you that it all comes down to this final test. Passing the bar is more than just taking an exam; it is also proving you have the moral character to be a lawyer. Practicing the law is a high honor, and those requesting admittance face a rigorous selection process.

Do you have concerns about your fitness to practice law? It may help you to know some of the basic factors the committee will consider when it questions your moral character.

Are you facing disciplinary action because of a client complaint?

As a California lawyer, you may ultimately have a client that doesn't feel that you did a good job. He or she may file a complaint with the State Bar, alleging some wrongdoing on your part. In many cases, such complaints arise out of the client's dissatisfaction with the outcome of their case. However, this doesn't mean that you should ignore that envelope containing a Notice of Disciplinary Charges or an inquiry letter.

Your next moves will determine whether you face censure or end up with a suspension that prevents you from practicing law for a period of time. You need to take any complaint seriously.

Recovering from a licensing board complaint

When you learned that the California Board of Registered Nursing received a complaint against you, you may have been stunned. Perhaps you felt angry or began second-guessing your choice of careers. After spending so much money and time getting your license, to have it put on the line so easily seems almost unreal.

Shocking as it may seem, it often doesn't take much for a nurse to face the scrutiny of a disciplinary board. Professional licensing boards are essential for maintaining high quality care for patients. Nevertheless, you may feel especially vulnerable if you are unsure why someone filed a complaint against you.

What happens if my moral character application is denied?

Part of the process of applying for admission into bar is a review of your moral character application. During this procedure, the review board checks your background, delves into why you left a job, what kind of credit you have, and any criminal offenses that might exist in your record. Even if you've passed all the other tests with flying colors, the moral character application is the one that has the least amount of black and white in the decision process. 

New law could make it harder for doctors to continue to practice

Doctors practicing in California now have another reason to be on their best behavior. A new piece of legislation supported by the California Medical Association would prevent physicians from seeking probation through the state's administrative disciplinary process if their actions have harmed patients. Instead, they would have to face a judge.

What To Do if You Are a Physician Under Board Investigation

Everyone knows that physicians have worked hard to earn their medical licenses. They have endured four years of college, four grueling years of medical school, and then completed residency to pass their board exams. They may have even completed fellowship training to specialize in a specific area of care.

But however much hard work and expertise physicians bring to their jobs, many doctors will wind up facing lawsuits and/or board investigations before their careers come to a close. If you are a medical professional who is being investigated by the board, there are several actions that you should consider taking that will likely help to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. 

Can debt prevent admission to the State Bar?

When applying for entrance into the State Bar of California, you will undergo a thorough background check that will include scrutiny of your financial records. Many applicants often worry about what having debt will do to their chances of gaining acceptance. After all, just about everybody leaves school with student loans, credit card balances and perhaps other loans. Do your books need to be completely clear?

Lawyer not charged after submitting racially charged drawings

Lawyers are typically held to the highest standards when it comes to behavior in a public court of law. Nonetheless, Encino-based immigration law attorney Wayne Spindler submitted a public speaking card filled with incendiary drawings, including a burning cross and a man hung from a tree, during a city counsel meeting on May 11, 2016. The counsel is headed City Counsel President Herb Wesson, who is African-American.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Spindler was arrested soon after it occurred on suspicion of making threats against Wesson. A judge also issued a restraining order against Spindler, keeping him at least 100 feet away from Wesson except in council meetings -- Spindler regularly appears at the meetings and speaks in manner akin to the card he submitted, often tying it to his theories about corruption in local government. Spindler has also openly and repeatedly worn a Ku Klux Klan hood with a swastika to council meetings.

An alternative to standard discipline

Lawyers, like you, are familiar with the State Bar Court of California and what it represents. Under investigation or discipline, you may feel frustrated or overwhelmed regardless of whether or not you agree with the allegations. However, depending on circumstances, you may not need to be subject to standard disciplinary methods.

The State Bar Court of California initially organized the Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) to assist attorneys with substance abuse or mental health concerns. Lawyers can seek assistance from LAP even without first receiving disciplinary action. Participating attorneys receive confidential support and structure for recovery.

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