Informal Administrative Proceedings
When faced with a disciplinary complaint, interview or informal conference with their respective licensing board or agency, many professionals wonder whether they should hire an attorney to represent them at this stage. Many decide that they will try to handle the informal stages and only hire an attorney if the matter progresses to the formal hearing stage. Others may simply consult with an attorney that they use for other legal matters but who is not familiar with their licensing board or agency.
Is this strategy a mistake? There is no single answer. However, our firm consistently finds that our best opportunity to achieve a positive result is at the informal stages of any licensing or disciplinary proceeding. Once a matter reaches the formal stage, at least the staff and generally some members of the Board or agency have decided that there is probable cause to believe that a professional has committed a significant violation. It is very difficult to get these individuals to reconsider their positions. At this point, usually the only options are to take the matter to a formal hearing or enter into a public consent order.
Here are the top five ways our firm can help you in informal disciplinary investigations and proceedings:
- Assist in presenting the facts in the most favorable light and help focus on those issues that may be the most important and beneficial;
- Identify other potential issues and attempt to address and avoid inquiry into and discussion of these matters;
- Provide advice about proactive steps and reforms where a violation has occurred;
- Advise on ways to avoid future disciplinary action; and
- Coordinate with professional assistance programs if substance-abuse or psychological issues are involved; we have a good working relationship with most professional assistance programs;
Representation or assistance at the informal stages is generally considerably less expensive than in formal stages. We represent clients at the informal stages before most of the major licensing boards and agencies, including those listed in our Practice Areas.