Lawyer Discipline

“Unfortunately civility is hard to codify or legislate, but you know it when you see it. It’s possible to disagree without being disagreeable.”

– Sandra Day O’Connor

State Bar discipline can result in a wide range of sanctions, from private and public reprimands, suspension, disbarment, restitution, and attorney’s fees. Those sanctions, in turn, can have collateral consequences for a lawyer’s practice or status, including affecting legal malpractice insurance rates, certification as a specialist, or admission to practice law in federal court. Both persons who file disciplinary complaints (complainants) and lawyers who are the target of disciplinary complaints (respondents) often can benefit from experienced, dispassionate outside counsel.

We have helped complainants and respondents prepare for and handle disciplinary matters, including:


Certain affected individuals, including people with a ‘cognizable personal interest,’ who believe that a lawyer has violated a Texas Disciplinary Rule of Professional Conduct may file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas. Herring & Panzer can help evaluate such complaints in advance and advise you on the best way to proceed. That may include filing a formal complaint or negotiating with the lawyer or firm to attempt to resolve the matter quickly, without pursuing the complaint process. If a complaint is filed, Herring & Panzer can provide expert, knowledgeable representation throughout the complaint process, always striving to make sure that the client understands the available options and to work toward achieving the best possible outcome.


The disciplinary process ordinarily begins for a respondent lawyer with a complaint (grievance) being filed with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel. In some cases the process continues all the way through an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. Steps along the way can include a classification decision and appeal, an investigatory panel hearing, a just-cause determination, a summary disposition panel ruling, an evidentiary panel hearing or district court trial, and appeals to the Board of Disciplinary Appeals or through the court system to the Texas Supreme Court.

Sanctions can range from a private or public reprimand through suspension and even disbarment. Disciplinary proceedings are technical and complex–and potentially career-ending. Herring & Panzer has years of experience at every step of the process. We have represented both complainants and respondents, from the filing of a complaint or response all the way through appellate proceedings at the Board of Disciplinary Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.