How to Report a Bad Lawyer in Texas

By Jessica Briggs

All practicing lawyers in the state of Texas are required to be members of the state bar. The state bar sets forth the rules governing attorney conduct in Texas; if you're having problems with an attorney, this is the association you must contact. The State Bar of Texas has a procedure called "filing a grievance"; it must be followed to file a complaint against a lawyer that you believe has acted improperly.

Determine whether the issue you're having would be better served by the "Client-Attorney Assistance Program" (CAAP) rather than the grievance process. If you're having trouble communicating with your attorney during a case or having trouble getting your file from her after you've fired her, CAAP may be able to solve your issue simply and quickly by phoning or writing her on your behalf. If you believe that your issue needs further or more in-depth attention, you should continue with the grievance process.

Download and print a copy of the grievance form on the State Bar of Texas website. You may want to have a copy of your file (if you have it) to help answer some of the questions about your fee arrangement and the number of your case.

Fill out the form as completely as possible. It's several pages long and asks detailed questions, so be sure to set aside enough time to complete it.

Sign and submit the form to the "Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel" (the address is on the last page of the form). You may fax the form if that's easier for you.

Await the chief disciplinary counsel's decision. If your case is reviewed and dismissed, you'll have 20 days to resubmit it with new or additional information. If it's reviewed and found to be alleging facts constituting professional misconduct, the attorney will be given 30 days to respond. The chief disciplinary counsel then investigates the facts and will determine whether to proceed to litigation or dismiss the complaint.

About the Author

Jessica Briggs began writing professionally in 2011. She has written for high school, college and law school newspapers such as "The Justice" and "The Hoot" at Brandeis University. Briggs holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in international criminal law and justice.