FAQs

Can I find out if a lawyer has been disciplined?
How do I file a complaint about an attorney?
What happens after I file a Request for Investigation with the Attorney Grievance Commmission ("AGC")?
Can I find out if an attorney has been investigated by the AGC?
What happens after the AGC files a Formal Complaint with the Attorney Discipline Board?
Can a hearing panel's decision be appealed?
What can I do if I have a fee dispute with my attorney?
Can I be reimbursed for losses caused by an attorney's dishonest conduct?
How do I file a complaint against a judge?
I'm a Michigan attorney. How can I get a copy of a "Certificate of Disciplinary History?"
I'm a Michigan attorney.  How can I apply to be a hearing panelist for the Attorney Discipline Board?
Can I record a hearing?

 
Can I find out if a lawyer has been disciplined?

If a lawyer has been placed on probation, reprimanded, suspended or disbarred, that information is available from the Attorney Discipline Board.  To view an attorney's history, click here.  You may contact the Attorney Discipline Board for further information about a particular attorney. 

How do I file a complaint about an attorney?

Any person can complain about an attorney's conduct by filing a Request for Investigation with the Attorney Grievance Commission ("AGC").  You may obtain a Request for Investigation from the AGC:

Attorney Grievance Commission
535 Griswold Street
Suite 1700
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: 313-961-6585
Visit: Attorney Grievance Commission

What happens after I file a Request for Investigation with the Attorney Grievance Commission ("AGC")?

The Grievance Administrator will determine if the request for investigation raises ethical issues that it enforces. If so the AGC will conduct an investigation of the attorney's alleged misconduct. Further information about the investigation stage may be obtained by visiting the website of the Attorney Grievance Commission.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the file will be submitted to the 6 lawyers and 3 non-lawyers appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court who will do one of the following:
  • Close the file
  • Issue a cautionary letter to the attorney
  • Issue a confidential admonishment to the attorney
  • Enter into a contractual probation agreement with the attorney
  • Authorize the Grievance Administrator to file a Formal Complaint with the Attorney Discipline Board.
Can I find out if an attorney has been investigated by the AGC?

No. If an attorney has been investigated by the Attorney Grievance Commission, but the Grievance Administrator did not file formal charges with the Attorney Discipline Board, the records of the Attorney Grievance Commission are confidential and not open to public inspection.

What happens after the AGC files a Formal Complaint with the Attorney Discipline Board?

When the Grievance Administrator files a Formal Complaint with the Attorney Discipline Board, that complaint is assigned to a hearing panel composed of three volunteer attorneys for a public hearing. The hearing is usually conducted in the county in which the respondent attorney practices or resides. Hearings before a panel are conducted in public under applicable provisions of the Michigan Court Rules and the Michigan Rules of Evidence.

If the panel finds that the charges of misconduct have not been established by a preponderance of the evidence, the panel must dismiss the complaint. If charges of misconduct are established, the panel must conduct a second phase of the hearing to determine the appropriate discipline. A hearing panel can order a public reprimand, suspend the attorney's license to practice law in Michigan or revoke the attorney's license.

Can a hearing panel's decision be appealed?

Yes. The Grievance Administrator, the respondent attorney or the complainant who filed a Request for Investigation may appeal a hearing panel's decision by filing a petition for review with the Attorney Discipline Board ("ADB"). The petition for review must be in writing, must state the grounds and reasons for the review and must be filed with the Board within 21 days after the hearing panel decision is mailed.

Petitions for reivew are considered by the six lawyers and three non-lawyers appointed by the Michigan Supreme Court at a public hearing.  The Board has the power to affirm, amend, reverse or nullify the order of a hearing panel.  A decision of the Attorney Discipline Board may be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court by filing an Application for Leave to Appeal.

What can I do if I have a fee dispute with my attorney?
Contact the Attorney Grievance Commission. If requested in writing by the attorney and the client, the Grievance Administrator may assign a fee dispute to a volunteer attorney for arbitration. There is no fee for this service. However, the parties must agree that they will be bound by the arbitrator's decision.

Can I be reimbursed for losses caused by an attorney's dishonest conduct?

In general, the discipline process is not the appropriate forum for resolving civil claims, including claims of legal malpractice, against an attorney. Under some circumstances, such as cases involving an attorney's embezzlement of funds belonging to a client or a third person, a hearing panel, the Attorney Discipline Board or the Supreme Court may order restitution by the attorney in connection with an order of discipline.

A person who has suffered a monetary loss caused by the dishonest conduct of a lawyer may be eligible to file a claim with the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection Fund. For more information, please contact:

The State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend Street
Lansing, MI 48933-2083 
Phone: 517-346-6300 -0R- 1-800-968-1442
Fax: 517-482-6248

How do I file a complaint against a judge?

Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission
3034 W. Grand Blvd.
Suite 8-450
Detroit, MI 48202
Phone: 313-875-5110
Visit: Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission

I'm a Michigan attorney. How can I get a copy of a "Certificate of Disciplinary History?"

Go to our Certificate of Disciplinary History Request Form.

I'm a Michigan attorney. How can I apply to be a hearing panelist for the Attorney Discipline Board?

Download a copy of our Hearing Panel Member Application and Biographical Data form.

Can I record a hearing?

You may request to record a hearing, subject to a hearing panel's approval, by filing this form with the Attorney Discipline Board.