Statistics on Virginia’s Discipline of Lawyers (Fiscal Years 2019 & 2020)

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Reporting from the Virginia State Bar’s Office of Bar Counsel indicates general consistency in the overall number of complaints made against lawyers and the corresponding levels of discipline.

A summary of reporting follows:

 

Fiscal Year 2019

(July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019)

Fiscal Year 2020

(July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020)

Number of Complaints 3,123 3,091
Percentage of Complaints as to Total of Active Lawyers

9.5%

(32,870 lawyers)

9.8%

(31,693 lawyers)

Percentage Screened Out in Early Review

84%

(2,626 cases)

79%

(2,440 cases)

Cases Dismissed 357 473
Lawyers Receiving Private Discipline 42 54
Lawyers Receiving Public Discipline 67 74
Suspensions 20 20
Revocations (including consent/agreement) 17

27 (unconfirmed)

(bar counsel reports 34)

Drilling down into the figures further, indicates that the dismissal of cases following the initial screening is most likely (and not surprising) early in the disciplinary process following additional explanation/investigation of the underlying circumstances giving rise to the complaint:

Cases Dismissed By: Fiscal Year 2019 Fiscal Year 2020
Bar Counsel 250 331
Disciplinary Subcommittee 103 125
District Committee 1 0
Disciplinary Board 2 12 (including “retirements with dignity”)
Three-Judge Panel/Circuit Court 1 5

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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