The Grievance Process
The Stark County Bar Association’s Certified Grievance Committee has been given the authority by the Supreme Court of Ohio to investigate complaints against attorneys who practice law in Stark County. The role of the Certified Grievance Committee is to investigate and prosecute an attorney for ethical misconduct. All complaints against attorneys are reviewed for violations of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
When the Stark County Bar Association’s Certified Grievance Committee has reviewed your Complaint Form, and there is credible evidence that misconduct has taken place, the complaint will be investigated by a member of the Certified Grievance Committee. Once the complaint has been investigated, the investigator will present his or her report to the entire Committee. The Committee, after hearing the report, will vote on the recommendation of the investigator. Unless a majority of the quorum of the Certified Grievance Committee determines the complaint is warranted, no complaint shall be filed with the Supreme Court of Ohio. The investigation of a grievance by the Bar Association will often take more than 90 days.
The only function of the Certified Grievance Committee is to investigate allegations of attorney misconduct and to either seek sanctions against the attorney in the Ohio Supreme Court or exonerate the attorney when no misconduct is found. Filing a complaint against a lawyer will not result in a recovery of money damages you have lost. If you suffer money damages or out-of-pocket losses as a result of your lawyer’s mistakes or negligence, you may have a legal malpractice claim.
It is important to understand that the Bar Association and our Certified Grievance Committee cannot offer legal advice or represent you. If you have a legal problem, you should consult an attorney and not rely on the Bar Association for legal representation. It is also important to understand that the Certified Grievance Committee cannot interfere with ongoing court proceedings and does not have the authority to overrule any decisions that have been made by a Court. If there is a dispute between you and your attorney over fees, ordinarily that is not a basis for an ethics complaint. The Stark County Bar Association does have a Disputed Fee Committee that can help resolve fee disputes. (Fee disputes are also listed on the Community Service Page).
The Certified Grievance Committee operates under rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio and consists of attorney and non-attorney members. These rules are designed to protect the public from attorney misconduct and to uphold the integrity of the Bar. Members of the Certified Grievance Committee thoroughly investigate complaints of attorney misconduct in a manner that is fair to both the accused attorney and to the interests of the public.
Filing a Grievance
If you believe you have a complaint regarding an attorney who practices law in Stark County, you may file a grievance with the Stark County Bar Association. In order to file a grievance, the complaint must be submitted in writing to the Stark County Bar Association. Please print out the following Complaint Form and complete. If you have documents that support the complaint, please send copies only of that paperwork. Original documents should never be sent as we cannot guarantee that they can be returned to you. Once the Stark County Bar Association Grievance Committee receives and reviews your complaint, you should receive a status letter within 1 – 2 weeks.
Complaints should be mailed to:
Stark County Bar Association
Attn: Grievance Committee
116 Cleveland Ave., N.W.
400 Courtyard Centre Building
Canton, Ohio 44702
If at any time you have questions regarding the process please contact the Stark County Bar Association at 330-453-0685 or SCB@StarkCtyBar.com