What is the Complaint Resolution Program?
The Missouri Bar sponsors the Complaint Resolution Program, a system designed to help clients and lawyers resolve disputes outside the formal disciplinary process. This no-cost program benefits both parties by providing a quicker, more informal setting for reaching a mutually agreeable outcome.
Who it helps:
- Clients can gain a voice in the resolution process and potentially achieve a faster remedy compared to formal discipline.
- Lawyers can enjoy a swifter resolution and the chance to actively participate in addressing complaints.
Quick program facts:
- The program is overseen by a five-member committee and a Missouri Bar staff member.
- It is no-cost for both parties and funded by The Missouri Bar and The Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Company.
- Dispute resolution is facilitated by a neutral volunteer lawyer trained specifically for this program who guides clients and lawyers towards an agreement.
- Representation is not required, but lawyers and clients can bring their own counsel at their expense.
Filing a complaint:
- All complaints must initially go through the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel.
- OCDC determines if a complaint is suitable for the Complaint Resolution Program.
- Referral from OCDC.
- Both parties agree to participate and voluntarily sign forms.
- The lawyer formally responds to the complaint.
- A meeting is scheduled at a convenient time for both parties.
- A panel member facilitates discussion and agreement.
- A panel member verifies agreement completion and reports back to OCDC.
- Lawyer and complainant cooperation is crucial for successful resolution.
- The program cannot coerce agreement.
- Lawyers may be referred to assistance programs if needed.
- Panel members cannot provide legal advice.
- Lawyer non-participation or serious misconduct may result in referral back to OCDC for formal discipline.