Office of Disciplinary Counsel

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Office of Disciplinary Counsel Operating Status during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to health and safety concerns surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel is closed until further notice. Our staff is working remotely with some modifications to how services are provided.

  • Staff will continue to respond to inquiries by phone and e-mail.
  • There may be a short delay in mail delivery to our office, but new mail is being processed and reviewed regularly.
  • Outgoing mail will be sent by email, when provided. Outgoing mail will be sent by USPS when an email address is not provided.
  • Information on How to File a Complaint.

Certificates Concerning Discipline
The production of a printed certificate is temporarily suspended. The electronic delivery of a certificate will be processed upon receipt of the Certificate Request Form and payment. For questions about certificates, please email [email protected].

The electronic delivery of a Certificate Concerning Discipline will be processed upon receipt of the Certificate Request Form and payment as noted below. Requests for rush service will not be honored. Your certificate will not be processed until your check or money order is received. Payment payable to “D.C. Bar” in the amount of $25.00 should be mailed to:

Office of Disciplinary Counsel
515 Fifth Street, N.W.
Building A, Room 117
Washington, DC 20001

For questions about certificates, please email [email protected].

Purpose and Mission

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (formerly known as the Office of Bar Counsel) was created in 1972 as a result of the Court Reorganization Act, which established the D.C. Court of Appeals.

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Certificate Concerning Discipline

Procedures for obtaining a Certificate Concerning Discipline.

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Filing a Complaint

Resources and information for filing a complaint against an attorney.

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Informal Admonitions

Search for Informal Admonitions issued.

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Office of Disciplinary Counsel Staff

Staff information for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

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Disciplinary Counsel's Column in Washington Lawyer

A list of columns the Office of Disciplinary Counsel periodically contributes to Washington Lawyer, the official magazine of the D.C. Bar.

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Frequently Asked Questions for the Public

What is the Office of Disciplinary Counsel?

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel (ODC) was created by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals to investigate and prosecute complaints of ethical misconduct against lawyers licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia who violate the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC).

The Rules describe a lawyer’s obligation to clients, the courts, and the general public in professional and private dealings. The purpose of this process is to protect the public by disciplining lawyers who violate the ethics rules. Our office cannot consider complaints against judges acting in a judicial capacity.

For additional information, see Purpose and Mission.
 

Can you represent me in court or give me legal advice?

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel cannot represent you, give you any legal advice, or change the outcome of a court decision.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel cannot refer you to an attorney. You may consult the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center to obtain information. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center sponsors a free monthly Advice & Referral Clinic, where you can speak with a lawyer at no charge to determine if you have a legal problem and possibly receive a referral to a legal or other service provider. For clinic locations and times, call the Legal Information Help Line at 202-626-3499.

Free Legal Help 

Contact the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center if you are an individual living in poverty who is at risk of losing your home, your livelihood, or your family. The Center also helps small businesses and community-based nonprofits needing legal assistance.

I am having problems with my attorney. What should I do?

Try to resolve issues with your attorney by communicating your concerns clearly and asking for a response.  Your attorney should clearly explain the fee agreement and scope of representation, keep you aware of developments in your case, and respond to any reasonable requests you may have for information.


If you feel that your problem is the result of poor communication or a misunderstanding between you and the attorney, you should have an open talk with the attorney before you file a complaint.
 

Can you help me contact my attorney?

The D.C. Bar’s Find a Member feature provides the same publicly available contact information for attorneys that we would be able to share with you.  If you are still unable to reach your attorney, you may need to file a complaint with our office.

Is my attorney licensed in the District of Columbia?

The D.C. Bar’s Find a Member feature enables a search of all attorneys licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia.  If an attorney is not listed as authorized to practice law and is advising you about D.C. law or representing you in Superior Court, please contact the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

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