Portage County Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee
Welcome to the Portage County, Ohio Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee's Web site.
Individuals who desire to practice law in the State of Ohio must adhere to certain rules known as the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. A violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, whether through misconduct or mental illness, will result in an investigation of that attorney.
Investigations of alleged attorney misconduct and/or mental illness are conducted by The Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, in Columbus, Ohio, or by certified grievance committees of local bar associations. The Portage County Grievance Committee is a certified grievance committee and is authorized to investigate any allegation of misconduct or mental illness involving an attorney who maintains an office within the geographical boundaries of Portage County. Investigations of alleged misconduct or mental illness of a judge may only be investigated by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline in Columbus.
Please read the information below to learn more about the Portage County Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee, to learn more about the grievance process, to obtain the address and telephone number of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, and to download a form to use in order to file a grievance against an attorney with the Portage County Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee.
Certified Grievance Committee
241 S. Chestnut Street
PO Box 128
Ravenna, Ohio 44266
Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Organization: The Portage County Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee is one of several committees of the Portage County Bar Association. Its members are appointed by the president of the Portage County Bar Association. The Grievance Committee is comprised of licensed attorneys and non-attorney lay persons from the community.
Mission: The Mission of the Portage County Bar Association's Certified Grievance Committee is to promptly and thoroughly investigate all allegations of misconduct or mental illness involving an attorney with an office within the boundaries of Portage County, to determine whether or not there exists substantial credible evidence that there has been a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and upon a finding that such evidence exists, forward the grievance to the appropriate body for prosecution.
What is not covered by the Grievance Process: Disputes between you and your lawyer over fees are ordinarily NOT a basis for an ethics complaint. Fee Disputes are handled by the Portage County Bar Association's Fee Dispute Committee. Please contact the Portage County Bar Association if you have a fee dispute. If you believe that you did not receive a proper result in your case, an appeal is your remedy, not a grievance. The lawyers investigating your ethics complaint cannot represent you, give you legal advice, or appeal the outcome of any case for you or recover money for you. The recovery of money damages or losses is not the purpose of the grievance procedure.
Area served: The Portage County Certified Grievance Committee is authorized to investigate the allegations of misconduct or mental illness of any attorney having an office within the boundaries of Portage County.
The Grievance Process
PLEASE NOTE: COMPLAINTS AGAINST ATTORNEYS MUST BE SUBMITTED IN THE COUNTY IN WHICH THEY MAINTAIN THEIR OFFICE
The Grievance Committee of the Portage County Bar Association is certified by the Ohio Supreme Court to investigate complaints of misconduct by attorneys. The investigation is limited to a determination as to whether the attorney's actions have violated the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee is also charged with the responsibility for investigating allegations of mental illness affecting attorneys.
Should you wish to pursue a formal grievance alleging misconduct or mental illness, you must complete and return the Complaint Form. Please include copies of any documents that you feel are necessary to support your grievance. Do not send original documents. Upon the Committee's receipt of the Complaint Form, an investigator will be appointed. The investigator will contact both you, and the attorney. The attorney may receive a copy of your Complaint Form, and be asked to respond to each allegation. The investigator will conduct such further investigation as the facts of the case warrants. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will make a report to the Committee. The Committee will then decide whether the attorney's conduct violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. You will receive written notification of the Committee's decision.
If the Committee finds probable cause to believe that a violation has been committed, and that the filing of a complaint is warranted, then the Committee may forward the matter to the Portage County Bar Association's Bar Counsel for prosecution. The prosecution takes place before the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, and their recommendations are subject to final review by the Ohio Supreme Court. You may be required to appear and testify before a panel of the Board. Only the Supreme Court has the authority to order disciplinary sanctions against an attorney. The sanctions involve the attorney's license to practice law.
This process will not affect the outcome of any other litigation in which you may be involved, and is not a substitute for an appeal. If the attorney is currently representing you, they may withdraw from your case. We cannot prevent this. Also, please be advised that by filing a grievance against your attorney, you are waiving the attorney-client privilege. The Committee cannot give you legal advice or representation. You should consult an attorney for specific legal advice concerning this matter or any other matter in which you may be involved.
The Supreme Court Rules for the Government of the Bar provide that all proceedings and documents relating to review and investigation of grievances shall be private, unless the attorney waives this privacy right. Should a formal complaint be filed and certified, subsequent proceedings in connection with the complaint are public. Your discretion is required in order to maintain the privacy of the investigation.
If the Committee finds that no violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct has occurred, your complaint will be dismissed. If you feel that the Committee's decision finding no probable cause was in error, you may file your complaint again, this time directly with the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel.
Please click this link to open or download the Complaint Form. Print the form, fill out the form, then mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form.
You also have the option to file your complaint with Disciplinary Counsel, rather than with our committee. The Disciplinary Counsel is appointed by the Board of Commissioners, with the approval of the Supreme Court, to conduct. investigations and prosecute complaints also. Should you wish to file your complaint with The Disciplinary Counsel, please download their complaint form at: Office of Disciplinary Counsel Grievance Form (ohio.gov) and mail the completed form to: Office of Disciplinary Counsel, The Supreme Court of Ohio, 65 E. State Street, Suite 1510, Columbus, OH 43215. Further instructions for submitting your grievance to Disciplinary Counsel may be found at the link above. If you do not have access to the Internet, please call the Office of Disciplinary Counsel for the forms and instructions. The number is 1(800)589-5256.