Complaints (initially called “grievances”) for violations of the HRPC can be filed by any person. A grievance form can be used, or an ordinary letter describing the lawyer's actions believed to be unethical can be filed with the ODC office. A separate grievance form or letter must be submitted for each attorney complained against. Click here for a generic grievance form
and here for instructions
The complaint letter should include:
* The lawyer's full name.
* A detailed statement of the facts believed to show misconduct on the lawyer's part.
* The date of each event involved in the complaint.
* Copies of any papers, such as letters, attorney-client agreement, court records, etc., which will help support the complaint.
The grievance form or letter must be signed and the original must be mailed or delivered to:
Office of Disciplinary Counsel
1132 Bishop Street, Suite 300
Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813
Facsimile and email submissions are not accepted for security reasons and because original signatures are required.
There is no time deadline by which a complaint must be filed; however, evidence can be lost and memories fade as time passes. Therefore, it is a good idea to file a complaint as early as possible.
In addition to completing the grievance form, you should provide copies (not originals)
of as many of the following items listed below as possible:
- A copy of any written fee agreement with the attorney. If there was no written agreement, please explain your understanding regarding payment to your attorney (for fees, costs, etc.)
- Copies of the front and back sides of all cancelled checks and/or copies of receipts showing payments made by you to the attorney.
- Copies of all correspondence between you and the attorney.
- A written explanation of the exact nature of your complaint. Explain what the attorney did or did not do that forms the basis of your complaint. [NOTE: Citations to one or more provisions of the HRPC you believe the attorney violated are not required.]
- The last date you were in contact with the attorney and what occurred at the time.
- The title of the case, the case number, and the name of the court or administrative agency.
- Copies of any pertinent court or administrative documents in your possession.
- If you have hired a new attorney, please provide his or her name, address, and telephone number.
- Your daytime telephone and cell phone number (if you have a cell phone).
- The number of attorneys in the law firm involved in your complaint. If you don’t know, state “Unknown.”
When providing documents to the ODC, please provide copies only. PLEASE DO NOT PROVIDE ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS WITH LEGAL SIGNIFICANCE, SUCH AS - FOR EXAMPLE AND IF RELEVANT TO YOUR COMPLAINT - ORIGINAL COPIES OF WILLS, TRUSTS, AND/OR DEEDS. All documents received, whether originals or copies, become the property of the ODC, and are subject to future destruction.