Pittsburgh Ethics Attorney:

Disciplinary Defense, Judicial Conduct Investigations, and Bar Admissions.

The practice of law is hard. The legal profession operates in an adversarial system, and the demands upon counsel, judges, and aspiring lawyers couldn’t be weightier.

Despite good intentions and exhausting efforts, lawyers, judges, and law students sometimes, unfortunately, find themselves having lapses of judgment, or on the receiving end of a complaint or ethics report. In these situations, the stakes couldn’t be higher, where a life spent in pursuit of this noble profession—and one’s reputation, license, and livelihood—is in jeopardy.

Pittsburgh ethics attorney, Ryan H. James, embraces these high-stakes, sensitive matters with the utmost zeal and discreetness. He views this work as a natural extension of his criminal-defense practice, where for a decade he has safeguarded his clients’ liberty interests, at trial and on appeal, against the accusations of the government.

Drawing on his extensive trial and appellate experience in both federal and state courts, Attorney James has assisted attorneys in varying practices in responding to disciplinary complaints (from solos to big-law practitioners to attorneys in elected office), and he has advised and represented judges in responding to formal investigations of the Judicial Conduct Board. Attorney James also has represented law students facing Character and Fitness inquiries by the Board of Law Examiners.

Our services in this area more specifically involve the following:

For Attorneys:

  • General ethics consulting and advising on the Rules of Professional Conduct.
  • Responding to inquiries and investigations by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel (i.e. DB-7 letters) and the Client Security Fund.
  • Litigation defense and representation in formal proceedings before the Disciplinary Board and its Hearing Committees.
  • Appeals and/or Petitions for Review to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from adverse disciplinary dispositions and recommendations.

For Judges:

  • General ethics consulting and advice on the Code of Judicial Conduct, including advice for judicial candidates on compliance with the Code.
  • Assisting with responses to informal inquires of the Judicial Conduct Board, and responding to Notices of Formal Investigation (NOFI) letters.
  • Litigation defense and representation before the Court of Judicial Discipline.
  • Appeals to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from adverse disciplinary dispositions.

For Law Students:

  • General advice and consulting pertaining to law-school and bar-examination applications and Character and Fitness inquiries by the Board of Law Examiners.
  • Guidance and representation in response to denials of a Certificate of Admission by the Board of Law Examiners, as well as interacting with the Board’s Lead Character and Fitness Investigator.
  • Representation in Character and Fitness Hearings before the Board of Law Examiners.

If you’re a lawyer, judge, or law student facing an ethical dilemma or investigation, contact our firm.

We’re sensitive to the stress and anxiety often associated with these matters, and we have the experience to competently and confidentially guide you through the process with an aim to a speedy and fair resolution.

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