File a Complaint | Attorney Grievance Committees | Supreme Court | Appellate Division | Fourth Department | @NYAppDiv4 (2023)

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Attorney Grievance Committees are authorized to investigate, review, and prosecute complaints of attorney misconduct within the Fourth Judicial Department. This agency has jurisdiction over approximately 14,588 lawyers with a 22-county geographic area, with three district offices, located in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo.

  • Overview
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  • Resources
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Overview

Appellate Division Rules for Attorney Conduct and Discipline Printable Brochure Annual Report

All lawyers promise when they enter practice to uphold the law and to be guided by rules of ethics, known as the Rules of Professional Conduct, which have been adopted by our Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court. A lawyer who commits a breach of this code of professional conduct is subject to discipline which, in some cases, could mean suspension of his or her license to practice or even its permanent loss.

Discipline of a lawyer must be considered very carefully since it may drastically affect the lawyer's career, reputation, and ability to earn a living. You can understand, therefore, that it takes more than a claim of unethical conduct to justify the imposition of discipline. It takes evidence-proof of unethical conduct-to justify discipline of a lawyer, just as it takes proof before you or any member of society may be penalized for wrongdoing. Consequently, the investigation of a complaint and disciplinary proceedings are kept confidential pursuant to state law.

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An honest disagreement about how a case should be handled-or should have been handled-does not constitute unethicalconduct. There can be legitimate differences about fees, of course. If your complaint is found to be a fee dispute,not involving unethical conduct, you will be so advised. You may be referred to a committee on conciliation of fee disputes, which will attempt to assist you and the lawyer to reach a fair settlement of the problem.

Unethical conduct, then, means wrongdoing-a violation of the profession's code of ethics-which can be proved by available evidence.

What Can I Expect From the Grievance Process?

The grievance process exists to protect the public. Grievance Committee members are not paid for their work. The committees consist of lawyers and nonlawyers, who volunteer to do this work in order to maintain the standards of the legal profession. By bringing a complaint to their attention, you will help the committees achieve that goal.The committees will act to resolve your complaint in a manner that is fair to both you and the attorney. However, the committees cannot represent you or give you legal advice. They cannot sue an attorney on your behalf, or seek the return of money or property from your attorney. The only matters that will be addressed by the committees are questions of the ethical conduct of attorneys.

Resources

Filing a Complaint

General Complaint Form Where to File a Complaint

While the filing of a complaint against a lawyer is a serious matter which should not be undertaken lightly, you need not be an expert on the legal profession's ethical standards before you file a complaint with this office.

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If you believe that your lawyer has acted unethically and you cannot resolve the matter with the lawyer, you may file a written complaint with the appropriate Grievance Committee.

The complaint must be submitted in writing with an original signature. Complaints submitted by facsimile are not accepted. No special form or language is necessary. Your written complaint should include all important information. If letters, agreements, or other documents are involved, copies should be included if available. If more information than what you provide is needed it will, of course, be requested. There is no financial cost to you in filing a complaint.

Disposition of a Complaint

Report Concerning Letters of Caution and Admonition

Your complaint will be first reviewed by a staff member. If your problem is a misunderstanding with your lawyer not involving unethical conduct, the Committee will not inquire further into your complaint. If your complaint appears to be a fee dispute or other minor matter, the Committee will refer your complaint to the local county barassociation for resolution. In any event, you will be notified if this office determines that your complaint is not within our jurisdiction.

If the review of your complaint indicates that unethical conduct may be involved, the usual procedure is for our office to send a copy of your complaint to the lawyer for his or her response. You will receive a copy of the lawyer's response to your complaint. If the lawyer's response does not resolve the matter, further investigation will be undertaken.

After the investigation is completed, the Grievance counsel will review the facts and then determine the appropriate action to take. If the complaint is reviewed by the Committee, it can dismiss the complaint, admonish the lawyer, or recommend that the complaint be referred to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York for formal disciplinary proceedings.

Disciplinary Decision By The Appellate Division

Browse Disciplinary Decisions

The Appellate Division has ultimate authority over attorney conduct in this state. This Court may impose discipline ranging from public censure to disbarment, if the charges are sustained. If the Court decides to take disciplinary action against an attorney, the decision will be made public.

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How Long Will It Take?

It is hard to predict just how long it will take to process a particular complaint. Much depends upon the nature of the complaint, but we assure you that it will be handled as quickly and fairly as possible. You will be notified of the outcome.

Attorney Grievance Committee Offices
Cydney A. Kelly, Acting Chief Counsel

See Also:First Department » Second Department » Third Department »

Complaints against lawers should be directed to the appropriate Grievance Committee office.

Fifth Judicial District

Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga and Oswego Counties

224 Harrison Street, Suite 408
Syracuse, New York 13202-3066

Phone: (315) 401-3344
Fax: (315) 401-3339

District Staff:

Mary E. Gasparini, Principal Counsel
Dom Cambareri, Principal Counsel
Sheryl M. Crankshaw, Investigator

Seventh Judicial District

Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates Counties

50 East Avenue, Suite 404
Rochester, New York 14604-2206

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Phone: (585) 530-3180
Fax: (585) 530-3191

District Staff:

Mark W. Bennett, Principal Counsel
Eftihia Bourtis, Principal Counsel
Kelly A. Page, Investigator

Eighth Judicial District

Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chatauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming Counties

438 Main Street, Suite 800
Buffalo, New York 14202-3212

Phone: (716) 845-3630
Fax: (716) 845-3632

District Staff:

Margaret C. Callanan, Principal Counsel
Cydney A. Kelly, Principal Counsel
Erin E. Hart, Principal Counsel
Carolyn M. Stachura, Investigator
Mary E. Davis, Investigator
Craig E. Semple, Investigator

Grievance Committees 2022-2023 Membership

Fifth Judicial District

  • Anthony S. Bottar, Esq. Committee Chair
  • Cora Alsante, Esq.
  • Christopher R. Bray, Esq.
  • Justin F. Brotherton, Esq.
  • Lanessa Chaplin, Esq.
  • Herbert I. Cully, Esq.
  • Paula M. Engel, Esq.
  • Robert M. Germain, Esq.
  • Anthony J. Gigliotti, Esq.
  • Dean L. Gordon, Esq.
  • Donald R. Kimber, CPA
  • John J. Kirwan, Jr.
  • Robert M. Lazzaro
  • Nicholas A. Macri, Esq.
  • Timothy M. McClusky, Esq.
  • Lourdes P. Rosario, Esq.
  • Aaron J. Ryder, Esq.
  • Lydia L. Young, Esq.

Seventh Judicial District

  • Steven V. Modica, Esq. Committee Chair
  • Peter Abdella, Esq.
  • Stephanie L. Barnes, Esq.
  • Leah Tarantino Cintineo, Esq.
  • Heidi W. Feinberg, Esq.
  • Bradley P. Kammholz, Esq.
  • Susan Kramarsky
  • Mary Walpole Lightsey, Esq.
  • Margaret Meath, LCSW-R
  • Christi L. Miller, Esq.
  • Elizabeth Nicolas, Esq.
  • Duffy Palmer
  • Edward Pelta, Esq.
  • Cassandra C. Rich, Esq.
  • Angelo A. Rose. Esq.
  • Tyler Savage, Esq.
  • Leon T. Sawyko, Esq.
  • Sara Valencia, Esq.
  • Stephanie L. Woodward, Esq.

Eighth Judicial District

  • Lauren E. Breen, Esq. Committee Chair
  • Ursuline Bankhead, Ph.D.
  • Thomas C. Brady, Esq.
  • Francis X. Carroll, Esq.
  • J.R. Santana Carter, Esq.
  • Peter Cutler
  • John J. DelMonte, Esq.
  • Reetuparna Dutta, Esq.
  • Robert R. Fogg, Esq.
  • John Gavenda, Esq.
  • Lyle T. Hajdu, Esq.
  • Ian M. Jones, Esq.
  • Charles F. Koller, CPA
  • Joseph A. Matteliano, Esq.
  • Anna S. M. McCarthy, Esq.
  • Mary Ann Oliver, Esq.
  • Pamela Thibideau, Esq.
  • Ruth R. Wiseman, Esq.
(Video) 3 easy steps to write an effective complaint.

Lay Member

FAQs

What is the primary role of the grievance committee? ›

The Grievance Committee's primary purpose is to review a complaint that has not been resolved at the staff or administrative levels and to provide mediation when appropriate.

How do I file a complaint against a lawyer in Nassau County NY? ›

A complaint should be filed, by email or regular mail, with the attorney grievance committee having jurisdiction over the county in the State of New York in which the attorney maintains their office for the practice of law.

How do I file a complaint against an attorney in NJ? ›

Call the Fee Arbitration Hotline at (800) 406-8594. Enter the zip code where your lawyer practices. The hotline will transfer your call to the fee arbitration committee for the appropriate district so you can request a grievance form and an address for where to send it.

Who regulates lawyers in New York? ›

In New York State, authority over the conduct of attorneys rests with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court and the discipline and grievance committees (the “committees”) appointed by that court.

Which committee first reviews and makes recommendations on unethical conduct disputes? ›

COMPLAINTS REFERRED TO THE GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

Rather, the Grievance Committee conducts a review of the complaint and makes such investigation as deemed necessary to determine whether the complaint could be construed as a Code violation if the complaint is taken as true on its face.

When filing an Ethics complaint What should be cited? ›

Your complaint should include a narrative description of the circumstances that lead you to believe the Code of Ethics may have been violated. Your complaint must cite one or more of the seventeen (17) Articles of the Code of Ethics which may have been violated.

What to do if your lawyer is not helping you? ›

You can complete a complaint form online or download a PDF complaint form from the State Bar's website. You may also call the State Bar at 800-843-9053 (in California) or 213-765-1200 (outside California) to discuss the complaint-filing process.

How do I write a legal complaint letter? ›

To write a complaint letter, you can start with the sender's address followed by the date, the receiver's address, the subject, salutation, body of the letter, complimentary closing, signature and name in block letters. Body of the Letter explaining the reason for your letter and the complaint.

Does filing a complaint with the FCC do anything? ›

By filing a consumer complaint with the FCC, you contribute to federal enforcement and consumer protection efforts on a national scale and help us identify trends and track the issues that matter most. The FCC does not resolve all individual complaints.

What is considered misconduct by a judge? ›

“Misconduct” is “conduct prejudicial to the effective and expeditious administration of the business of the courts.” A “disability” is a temporary or permanent condition, either mental or physical, that makes the judge “unable to discharge all the duties” of the judicial office.

What can you do if a judge is unfair? ›

In a matter of any grievance relating to delay in judgement or not a fair judgement or miscarriage of Justice, the petitioner is suggested to go for judicial remedy by making an appeal or any other events before the appropriate Court of Law within the allotted time limit.

How do I file a complaint in NJ? ›

Call Citizen Services at 609-984-5828 or. Email: Citizens Services via online form.

What is the Martin Act in NY? ›

The Investor Protection Bureau is charged with enforcing the New York State securities law, commonly known as the Martin Act. The Martin Act gives the Attorney General broad law-enforcement powers to conduct investigations of suspected fraud in the offer, sale or purchase of securities.

How do I file a complaint against a NYS agency? ›

We help members of the public identify other government organizations better able to address their concerns. If you cannot complete the form online or need additional assistance with where to direct your complaint, please call our OAG Help Line at (800) 771-7755.

How do you find if an attorney has been disciplined? ›

Official discipline information can be found on an attorney's profile and in the State Bar Court case search. Copies of official attorney discipline records are available upon request.

What types of complaints typically are resolved by an association? ›

Local boards and associations resolve two types of cases, ethics complaints and arbitration requests. Anyone can file a complaint, whether it be another member, a buyer or seller, or someone from the general public.

What is the standard of proof in an arbitration hearing? ›

In an arbitration hearing, the prevailing party must prove they are entitled to the disputed funds by a “preponderance”of the evidence. This is a lower standard than used in ethics hearings and is the same standard used by courts in civil cases. It means the “greater weight of the evidence,”or “more likely than not.”

What does the decision of a hearing panel in an Ethics complaint include? ›

Hearing Panels decide whether the Articles expressly cited in complaints were violated—not whether Standards of Practice or case interpretations were violated.

What is a violation of the Code of Ethics? ›

Ethics violations such as discrimination, safety violations, poor working conditions and releasing proprietary information are other examples. Situations such as bribery, forgery and theft, while certainly ethically improper, cross over into criminal activity and are often dealt with outside the company.

Under what circumstances will you file an Ethics complaint answer? ›

An ethics complaint must be filed within 180 days from the time you knew (or reasonably should have known) that potentially unethical conduct took place, and the complainant must cite one or more articles of the Code of Ethics that may have been violated.

What is an ethical complaint? ›

An ethics complaint is a written document filed by the Inspector General with the SEC. This document cites the specific ethics rule which is alleged to have been violated along with the general supporting facts. This is a civil rather than a criminal proceeding.

What is the function of school grievance committee? ›

The School Grievance Committee shall have original jurisdiction over grievances of teachers and non-teaching personnel in the school that were not orally resolved. b. The District Grievance Committee shall have original jurisdiction over grievances of employees in the district that were not orally resolved.

What is a grievance committee and of what use can it be to a server? ›

The grievance committee processes grievances arising from the violation of a contract, state or federal law, or an abuse of a shop's past practice.

What is grievance committee in hospital? ›

Grievance Redressal System is an important mechanism to ensure delivery of entitled services and fulfilment of needs of public. It helps in identifying the gaps in health service delivery and thereby improving the quality of services.

What is grievance committee Hoa? ›

Grievance committees are typically composed of volunteer owner members who help resolve disputes within the community. They're few and far between—and when a form of them exists, they're sometimes not even called that.

What are the steps of a grievance procedure? ›

  1. Step 1: Understanding the options.
  2. Step 2: Raising a formal grievance.
  3. Step 3: Responding to a formal grievance.
  4. Step 4: The grievance meeting.
  5. Step 5: Deciding the outcome.
  6. Step 6: After the grievance procedure.

Who leads the grievance committee in the school? ›

The District Grievance Committee shall be composed as follows: (1) District Supervisor/Coordinator or his/her designated representative; (2) Principal of the school where the grievance originated; (3) President of the District Teachers' Association or his or her designated representative.

How many members are in a grievance committee? ›

At least three members of the Grievance Committee shall be present in a meeting. If a member of the Grievance Committee is connected with the grievance of the aggrieved individual, the concerned member of the Grievance Committee shall not participate in the deliberations regarding that individual's case.

What are the outcomes of a grievance? ›

A grievance complaint sends a signal to the employer that action is needed. It is rare for an employer to uphold a grievance. But, in private the employer may make changes. Or, in many cases, compromise the employee out of the business.

How long does a grievance process take? ›

Two to three weeks after submission of grievance. Agency has 90 days to render a decision. If a timely decision declares the grievance meritorious, the grievance is resolved. If a timely decision is a denial, the grievant has the option to appeal within 60 days from receipt of the decision letter.

How do employees win a grievance hearing? ›

To succeed with a grievance at work there are some important steps you can follow to maximise your chance of a successful outcome.
  1. Step 1 – Prepare well before you begin. ...
  2. Step 2 – Familiarise yourself with your employer's relevant policies and procedures. ...
  3. Step 3 – Attempt to informally resolve your concerns.
Nov 13, 2021

Where does the healthcare grievance process come from? ›

The Patient's Rights' CoP guarantees a patient the right to receive information and requires hospitals to establish a patient grievance process.

What is grievance policy? ›

Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer. There is no legally binding process that you or your employer must follow when raising or handling a grievance at work.

How do you write a grievance policy? ›

All grievances must be in writing. Using the form provided by the Company, you must state clearly and concisely all the known facts related to your grievance, including “who, what, where, when and the why.” Clearly explain why you disagree with act or omission that forms the basis for the grievance.

What is grievance and adjudication committee? ›

Grievance and Adjudication Committee.

The committee shall accept and investigate complaints filed by a member against any other member or officer, and shall settle or arbitrate any dispute within its power in the community.

How do I file a complaint with Hlurb? ›

1981) is the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Complainants can send their complaints to HLURB any time through email at pac@hlurb.gov.ph. They may also call during office hours at (02) 927 2731 or give their complaint in person at HLURB's central office at Sunnymede IT Center, 1614 Quezon Ave., Brgy.

Can Hoa impose fines Philippines? ›

Short answer, yes. An association can levy a fine against a resident who has broken the rules, provided the authority is granted to the board by the governing documents. Some governing documents explicitly state the board's authority to impose fines, while others only imply it.

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