You have dedicated your education, your career, and years of your life to your profession. In the face of this consistent service, an allegation of professional or ethical misconduct may seem shocking, even traumatic. Your professional license is on the line – and so are your reputation for competence, your integrity, and your livelihood.
At Blanchard, Miller, Lewis & Isley, P.A., we understand how tough it is to face the threat of professional sanctions. Our attorneys include the representation of professionals before licensing and disciplinary boards in our administrative practice. For help addressing the allegations you face and preserving your professional credentials, or help applying for licensure, contact our law firm today.
What Do Licensing Boards Do?
Professional licensing boards are responsible for setting the standards by which the members of certain professions operate. Most licensing boards require certain levels and types of education before a member is licensed. The board may require you to pass certain exams, to submit to a character and fitness evaluation, or to meet other requirements before a license is granted.
Once you are a licensed professional in your field, you may have continuing obligations to the board: continuing education, payment of dues or fees, re-licensing or re-certification exams, and the obligation to meet the minimum expectations for quality and ethics that the board demands.
Licensing boards also play an investigative role in many professions. They field complaints from consumers and clients, and investigate the allegations. If the board deems it necessary, it may raise formal allegations that a licensed professional under its purview has in some way violated its standards.
Penalties for these violations may include additional continuing education, restitution to a customer or client, or a fine. Your license may be suspended for a period of time, preventing you from practicing your profession until it is restored. In the most serious cases, your license may be revoked entirely, forcing you to change career paths midstream – with the fact of your license revocation hanging over your head. Even if the board decides in your favor, the process can take months or years.
Representing Clients Before Professional Licensing Boards
When we stand with a client before a professional licensing board, we may be there for any number of reasons. Perhaps the board has challenged a client’s character and fitness, or a grievance has been filed against our client.
Our extensive experience includes representation of doctors, lawyers, CPAs, real estate professionals, general contractors, counselors, dentists, veterinarians and other professionals at every stage of the licensing or disciplinary process, including:
- Holding preventative risk-management consultations
- Defending our clients’ character and fitness during the licensing and application process
- Representing clients in administrative disciplinary proceedings
- Protecting a client’s professional life, reputation, and confidentiality during every phase of the process.
Because our law firm’s practice also encompasses criminal law, we are equipped to help you face any allegation made against you by a licensing board, whether it involves a consumer complaint or allegations of criminal activity. Because many criminal cases carry with them the possibility that the person’s professional license will be in jeopardy if he or she is convicted, it is vital to work with a lawyer who understands the complex interplay of factors in criminal cases and professional licensing board decisions if you find yourself facing criminal charges that relate in some way to your professional credentials.
Protecting Your Reputation and Your Career
When we take a case representing a client before a professional licensing board, we fight to win. We realize, however, that while we are building a case on your behalf, the allegations remain “in play” – and have the risk of harming your reputation as a result. Even if the board finds no evidence of wrongdoing, the fact that you faced a grievance may damage your professional image among clients, customers, and fellow professionals.
This is why our law firm focuses not only on facing the allegations against you, but on practicing discretion and managing the flow of information at every point in the process. We maintain the highest standards of client confidentiality, and we can provide vital assistance in addressing or helping to prevent media or other publicity regarding your situation. We understand that while your license gives you the ability to practice your chosen profession, your reputation is what keeps you in business.
If You Are Being Investigated by a Licensing Board
Do not take the investigation lightly. While an investigation is not proof you did anything wrong, you have worked hard to build your business and your livelihood depends on your ability to continue practicing your profession – which means you must maintain your license.
Instead, start by contacting your malpractice insurance carrier to check your coverage limits, whether the coverage includes the investigation, and to notify your carrier. Many malpractice insurance carriers require notification if you are being investigated, and this contact will give you the opportunity to refresh your memory as to what your insurance does and does not cover.
Then, contact a knowledgeable attorney immediately. Be prepared to help your lawyer understand your thinking at the time and to recommend articles, books, and experts if needed.
Call BMLI Today
When we meet with a client who is facing professional discipline, we begin by listening. We want to understand your goals, your needs, and the outcomes that you consider reasonable – or unacceptable. Then, we work to ensure you have a clear understanding of the applicable law and rules, your rights, and the obstacles we expect to face. We create a plan to overcome those obstacles and to succeed.
The lawyers at BMLI work closely with one another and with our clients to address professional licensing and discipline concerns swiftly, and to build a strong case on your behalf. Our attorneys have represented professionals before the North Carolina Medical Board, the North Carolina State Bar, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors, and the licensing and disciplinary boards of many other trade and professional organizations.
To speak to one of our attorneys, call our office today at (919) 755-3993, or send us an email. Your contact with our office is confidential.