Questions and Answers About My Law License
A public censure is a complaint against an individual’s law license that becomes public so others that may want to hire that attorney are aware of the prior complaint. “Censure” means a disapproval or criticism that is expressed officially or publicly. I wanted to explain and provide information about my law license and I want to make sure everyone knows I am not trying to hide or bury anything. I’m certainly not proud of it, but it is not as serious as some may believe. Here is what happened:
In the first three months of 2017, I had left my job as a prosecutor in Pueblo and decided to try my hand at my own practice. I had two clients during that three-month period and they were both civil cases. One was very happy with the work I did and the other one was very upset when I told him I was accepting a job with the State of Colorado effective April 4, 2017. He first filed a complaint with the Judge which was dismissed and several months later filed a complaint with the Attorney Regulation Counsel not long after I sent him a final invoice (FYI, he never paid any of his invoices).
More importantly, however, this isn't the job I am applying for. This was one case, and it was a civil case, that occurred when I was trying to dip my toe into those unknown waters. At the time, I didn't know civil cases were so vastly different, procedurally speaking, than criminal cases. But I should have known and that is why I was a civil attorney for less than three months and haven’t ever gone back.
In contrast, I have been a prosecutor for over eight years and a hearing officer for three years. And for those eleven years, while handling hundreds if not thousands of cases, I have never had a complaint filed against my law license.
It is also important to note there are many District Attorneys in the State of Colorado, whether sitting District Attorneys presently or in the past or even currently running, that have public censures on their law licenses. Maybe it’s the word “censure” that makes it sound so horrible, but it is not as uncommon or serious as may have been portrayed or believed.
In fact, any individual that holds a license is subject to review when a complaint is filed.
From architects to acupuncturists, from beauticians to bankers, engineers to electricians, mortgage brokers to massage therapists, from plumbers to podiatrists, realtors to respiratory therapists, social workers to securities brokers, and tow truck drivers to tattoo artists. Many people would likely be shocked at the number of individuals they have worked with or for or even hired that have at least one complaint (censure) against their license.
With that being said, a public censure is akin to a write up in your file at your work. It is documentation that for a particular reason, you didn't do a job or task as expected. Most people have had a similar event happen to them at some point in their life.