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Office of Disciplinary Counsel: Some Things to Know

The authority of the ODC is limited. Following is a list of some things the ODC does and some things the ODC cannot do when it considers a complaint against a lawyer.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel:

  • evaluates complaints about Delaware lawyers (for other jurisdictions, please refer to the National Organization of Bar Counsel at http://www.nobc.org).
  • on most, but not all occasions, contacts the lawyer(s) about whom you are complaining and requests a response to the specific statements in your complaint.
  • if warranted, based on the evaluation of information gathered, conducts a formal investigation regarding the lawyer's conduct.
  • has the discretion to dismiss a complaint or to seek to prosecute the lawyer.
  • if lawyer discipline is sought, presents the matter to a panel of the Preliminary Review Committee consisting of two attorneys and one lay person, which can decide to dismiss the matter, offer the lawyer private discipline, or approve the filing of a petition for discipline with the Board on Professional Responsibility.
  • prosecutes disciplinary matters before the Board on Professional Responsibility and the Supreme Court of Delaware.

Note: A complainant in a disciplinary matter is not considered a party to the proceeding, and has no right to appeal decisions made in a disciplinary matter.

Note: The procedure for evaluating, investigating, and prosecuting lawyer misconduct is outlined in the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel:

  • cannot act as your lawyer.
  • cannot give you legal advice in any matter or provide other legal services.
  • cannot advise you of your legal rights or remedies in any given situation.
  • cannot intervene in a civil or criminal proceeding on your behalf.
  • cannot find you an attorney. (The Lawyer Referral Service may be able to help you find an attorney.)
  • cannot order an attorney to do something for you or to stop doing something.
  • cannot get money or other property for you or seek money damages from your attorney. (The Fee Dispute Conciliation and Mediation Committee is established to mediate fee disputes between lawyers and clients.)
  • cannot consider or evaluate complaints about judges. (See Complaints Concerning Judges.)

ALL COMPLAINTS AND ANY INFORMATION RELATING TO, OR GATHERED AS A RESULT OF, A COMPLAINT FILED WITH THE ODC ARE CONFIDENTIAL.

 


Carvel State Office Building
820 North French Street, 11th Floor
Wilmington, Delaware 19801-3545
Phone number: (302) 577-7042
Fax number: (302) 577-7048