As an attorney if you receive a letter from The Florida Bar marked, Confidential To Be Opened By Addressee Only, it could be bad news in the form of a Complaint Form. Initial Inquiry/Complaints are reviewed by the ACAP (Attorney Consumer Assistance Program) office in Tallahassee. After you read this Inquiry/Complaint what do you do?

Lawyers sometimes expect to receive a complaint. Many times lawyers are completely surprised by the complaint. Regardless, you are required to respond. Failure to respond is in itself, a violation of the rules and subject to discipline. It would be wise to consult with an experienced lawyer in the preparation and submission of this response. David R. Ristoff has experience as a Bar Prosecutor (almost 16 years) and as a defense counsel for lawyers (nearly 16 years).

It is important to present a defense to all of the allegations raised early in the process to hopefully get a dismissal of the complaint. If you are not successful at the first review stage your case will be forwarded to a regional office of The Florida Bar depending on your record bar address. There are regional offices in Tallahassee, Orlando, Tampa, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. Your Inquiry/Complaint will be re-reviewed by Bar Counsel in the regional office to determine whether your case will be dismissed or forwarded to a local grievance committee.