Bar Rules


State Bar Programs / Part XIV - Rules Governing the Investigation and Prosecution of the Unlicensed Practice of Law / 14-5. COMPLAINT PROCESSING AND INITIAL INVESTIGATORY PROCEDURES / RULE 14-5.1 COMPLAINT PROCESSING

(a) Complaints. All complaints alleging unlicensed practice of law, except those initiated by the State Bar of Georgia, shall be in writing and signed by the complainant in such form as may be prescribed by the Standing Committee.

(b) Review by Staff Counsel. Staff counsel shall review the complaint and determine whether the alleged conduct, if proven, would constitute a violation of the prohibition against engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. Staff counsel may conduct a preliminary, informal investigation to aid in this determination and may use a State Bar of Georgia staff investigator to aid in the preliminary investigation. If staff counsel determines that the facts, if proven, would not constitute a violation, staff counsel may decline to pursue the complaint. A decision by staff counsel not to pursue a complaint shall not preclude further action or review under the rules regulating the State Bar of Georgia. The complainant shall be notified of a decision not to pursue a complaint.

(c) Referral to District Committee. Staff counsel may refer a UPL file to the appropriate District Committee for further investigation or action as authorized elsewhere in these rules.

(d) Closing by Staff Counsel and Committee Chair. If staff counsel and a District Committee chair concur in a finding that the case should be closed without a finding of unlicensed practice of law, the complaint may be closed on such finding without reference to the District Committee or Standing Committee.

(e) Referral to Staff Counsel for Opening. A complaint received by a District Committee or Standing Committee member directly from a complainant shall be reported to staff counsel for docketing and assignment of a case number. Should the District Committee or Standing Committee member decide that the facts, if proven, would not constitute the unlicensed practice of law, the District Committee or Standing Committee member shall forward this finding to staff counsel along with the complaint for notification to the complainant as outlined above. Formal investigation by a District Committee may proceed after the matter has been referred to staff counsel for docketing.

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