Characteristics of Lawyers Who Are Subject to Complaints and Misconduct Findings
33 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2017 Last revised: 13 Dec 2018
Date Written: September 24, 2018
Regulators of the legal profession are charged with protecting the public by ensuring lawyers are fit to practice law. However, their approach tends to be reactive and case-based, focusing on the resolution of individual complaints. Regulators generally do not seek to identify patterns and trends across their broader caseloads and the legal profession as a whole. Using administrative data routinely collected by the main regulator of the legal profession in Victoria, Australia, we characterized complaints lodged between 2005 and 2015 and the lawyers against whom they were made. We also analyzed risk factors for complaints and misconduct findings. We found the odds of being subject to a complaint were higher among lawyers who were male, older, had trust account authority and whose practices were smaller, in non-urban locations, and incorporated. A deeper understanding of these risk factors could support efforts to improve professional standards and reform regulatory practices.
Keywords: empirical legal research, lawyer misconduct, disciplinary proceedings, complaints, regulation
JEL Classification: K2, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation