You received a letter informing you that a California attorney complaint was filed against you by a previous or current client, judge, or even another attorney. You recognize that the matter is serious. Since you want to do everything you can to protect your ability to continue to practice law as well as your reputation, you’re considering the possibility of hiring an ethics defense lawyer.

Will the Bar Automatically Think You’re Guilty of the Attorney Ethical Violation?

It’s normal for your mind to wonder if the bar will automatically presume you’re guilty of the attorney ethical violation filed against you because you lawyered up. It’s the same thing that criminal defendants are told by others even if they’ve done nothing wrong. And yet everyone has the right to an attorney before they’re questioned as well as if they go to trial. Much like within the traditional legal system, you are not automatically guilty of the attorney ethical violation because you’ve retained counsel.

Hiring an Ethics Defense Lawyer Means You Take Your Own Advice

When you make the decision to hire an ethics defense lawyer to help you handle a California attorney complaint, it shows that you take your own advice of retaining an expert. This isn’t just a matter of the saying of an attorney who represents themselves has a fool for a client. When the matter and the potential consequences are minor, self-representation may make perfect sense. However, there are times in our lives when the skills of an expert greatly outweigh the expense.

Stepping away from attorney ethical violations, let’s look at other examples where we look to experts. You might replace your own car battery, change your own oil, and maybe you even replace your own brakes. If the electrical system in your car becomes a problem, you take it to an expert. If you receive a recall notice on your vehicle, you take it to dealership. Maybe you handle your own gardening and lawncare, clean your own gutters, and perform other small home repairs. If you find out you have a foundation problem, need a new roof, or your septic tank needs to be replaced, you call an expert. Maybe you feel comfortable with selling your own home, but if you want to lease office space, you call an agent.

If It’s Warranted, Get an Expert to Help

Not every California attorney complaint requires the help of an ethics defense attorney. It all boils down to the potential seriousness of the matter.

Related: Minimize the Risk of an Ethics Complaint

Another factor to consider is whether you have a previous history of attorney ethical violations. If you do, expert help is definitely warranted.  However, to boil it down, no, simply hiring an ethics defense attorney to represent you will not make the bar think you’re guilty. It can help you better understand your positioning, the rules you’re accused of violating, and what you can do to best present your case.