Filing a Grievance

Instructions

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel investigates allegations of ethical misconduct made against attorneys, judges, and magistrates, as well as the unauthorized practice of law. Enclosed is a form to assist you in filing your grievance. Please print and complete the complaint form in a legible manner and mail it to:

Office of Disciplinary Counsel
Supreme Court of Ohio
250 Civic Center Drive, Ste. 325
Columbus, Ohio 43215-7411

Also include copies of any documents you feel are necessary to support your grievance. Do not send original documents. You may use additional sheets of paper to complete the "Facts of the Grievance" portion of this form. You may or may not be contacted to provide additional information. Be sure to sign and date the form. Once we receive the completed grievance form, we will review the matter as quickly as possible. You will receive notification of the status of your case by mail.

The Rules of the Supreme Court of Ohio require that investigations be confidential, and you are asked to keep confidential the fact that you are submitting this grievance. Only the attorney or judge under investigation may waive confidentiality. The party(ies) you are filing your grievance against will receive notice of your grievance and may receive a copy of your grievance and be asked to respond to your allegations. The filing of a grievance may result in your attorney withdrawing from your case. We cannot prevent this. Please also be advised that in filing a grievance against your attorney, you are waiving the attorney-client privilege. Additionally, this office has no jurisdiction to become involved in the merits of any case. The attorney disciplinary process will not affect or change court decisions made in your case.

Please use one form for each attorney or judge against whom you are complaining. You may copy the form if you have more than one grievance, and you may enclose all of your grievances in one envelope.

The Grievance Process

A grievance sent to the Disciplinary Counsel of the Supreme Court of Ohio or to a local bar association's certified grievance committee will be reviewed to determine whether the grievance alleges a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility or Code of Judicial Conduct. If there is evidence that supports the allegation of a violation, the grievance will be investigated. Following the investigation, if substantial, credible evidence is found that a violation has occurred, a formal complaint will be filed with the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline. A three-member panel of the Board will review the complaint and determine whether probable cause exists to certify it. If the complaint is certified by the Board, a hearing is then held before a different three-member panel of the Board. The panel considers the evidence and makes a recommendation to the full Board of Commissioners. The full Board then makes a recommendation to the Supreme Court of Ohio. The Court has final say on whether to discipline an attorney or judge and what sanction should be administered. A grievance is confidential until the Board certifies it as a formal complaint. A grievance or complaint can be dismissed at any point in the process.