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What is gross professional misconduct?

Not all professional misconduct is the same. There are ordinary slip-ups that are labeled "misconduct." Then there are major mistakes that can cost you your reputation, your job and your professional license -- no matter what field you are in.

So, what's the difference?

Study: Professional and marital misconduct are linked

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered a definitive connection between marital infidelity and professional misconduct -- regardless of the profession of the individual involved.

The study took a look at four different categories of people: financial advisors, people who had ultimately been convicted of white collar crimes, police officers and highly placed executives. The researchers focused on those who had used the now-infamous Ashley Madison website that encouraged marital infidelity under the mantra "Life is short. Have an affair." In total, researchers looked at 11.235 different people.

Radiologist surrenders license in California

A San Luis Obispo radiologist has voluntarily surrendered his license to practice after an investigation into his alleged drug use, abuse of prescriptions and malpractice.

The investigation by the California Medical Board lasted nearly two years and looked all the way back to the radiologist's activities in 2010. During the investigation, his license to practice was suspended from May 2017 until February 2019. While he was under suspension, he was required to participate in monthly drug testing and drug addiction treatment.

Handling manipulative patients (and protecting your license)

Every patient deserves empathy and respect -- even patients that, quite frankly, attempt to manipulate you.

Some manipulative patients simply want attention, while others may be seeking painkillers and other drugs. They may use flattery to try to gain your sympathy and -- if that fails -- resort to angry outbursts and threats of legal action to try to intimidate you into giving them what they want.

Are your poor tech skills jeopardizing your law practice?

If your comfort level with technology stops at logging into your email account or checking your social media page, you may want to take steps to remedy that, especially if you practice law. While you certainly have enough to do keeping up with the ever-changing nuances of your practice area, technology is fast becoming a critical component in many legal battles. As a result, you may end up facing issues related to ethics or professional conduct if you fail to remain current with the changes in technology.

While the California State Bar does not formally include the duty to be technologically competent in its rules of ethics, you may understand that few legal cases do not in some way involve technology. Additionally, if you fail to understand the types of technology your own law office uses, you may find yourself facing serious allegations that could place your practice and your future at risk.

What can get you disbarred in California?

You worked for years to gain the knowledge you needed to pass the Bar exam and obtain your law license. It might seem a little unfair, then, that a mistake could strip you of your license to practice -- even though you still have all the requisite knowledge to be a good attorney.

Some things are more likely to get your license taken away than others. If you look at the most recent list of attorneys who have had their licenses put on probation, been suspended or outright been disbarred, you'll see a few specific trends.

Data breaches and your medical practice (and license)

Data breaches are a distinctly modern problem that your predecessors in the medical profession didn't have to worry about (at least, not to this extent). Because of the increased public focus on data breaches, a lax attitude toward your patient's privacy could put your practice -- and your medical license at risk.

What are the biggest "bad habits" regarding patient privacy that a doctor's office can have? They include:

Avoid these mistakes at your medical board hearing

When you're a physician, receiving a notice that you're under investigation by the medical board can feel like the worst kind of intrusion on your life and your practice. If you've received such a letter, however, how you choose to handle the situation can ultimately determine the trajectory for your entire career.

These are the top mistakes you need to avoid at your hearing with the medical board:

California doctors selling vaccine exemptions are facing trouble

We've touched on this subject before and have warned that doctors in California who are capitalizing on the "anti-vaxx" movement by selling their signatures on exemption forms for children could be in trouble. That warning has now come to fruition in Senate Bill (SB) 276.

The proposed legislation would put any doctor who writes five medical exemptions or more per year under a microscope. If a doctor is found to have provided a phony medical exemption, that doctor would be charged with perjury. In turn, that would put the doctor's license and practice at risk.

California Bar aims to revoke celebrity attorney's license

"Celebrity" attorney Michael Avenatti, who is perhaps best known for his representation of actress Stormy Daniels and his abrasive style of commentary, is facing a new battle: He's trying to keep his license to practice law.

The California State Bar has moved to place the attorney on "involuntary inactive" status over allegations that he embezzled money from several clients by diverting settlement money that should have gone to them to his personal accounts. He's also accused of trying to extort millions from the major manufacturer Nike. All together, he's facing criminal charges that include embezzlement, extortion, wire fraud, conspiracy, identity theft and sending interstate communications in order to commit extortion.

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