When facing a disciplinary action before your state licensing board or when looking for assistance in applying for a license, it is important to find the right attorney to help you through this often cumbersome process. To make an informed decision, you should set an appointment and meet with the attorney in person to gauge the following:
Experience/Expertise: Experience in representing physicians before the State Medical Board of Ohio is a very important factor to consider. It is your professional license that is at stake. While you may have a good friend who is an attorney or a good professional relationship with a criminal defense counsel, often they do not have the experience or expertise to handle your defense before the State Medical Board of Ohio. In addition, many attorneys will claim to represent licensees before the Medical Board. However, you should ask them what percentage of their practice is in the area of licensure defense. You also want to determine how many cases they have taken through the hearing process and on appeal. You don’t want your case to be the first case they have taken to a Board hearing.
Personality/Compatibility/Accessibility: Meet and interview the attorney before you decide to hire them. Do they seem knowledgeable about the investigative or disciplinary process? Did they take the time to meet with you, answer your questions and explain the disciplinary process to you? Do you think the attorney understands your individual circumstances? Would you feel welcome to pick up the phone or to email the attorney with questions and concerns?
Costs/Accounting of fees: You should have a frank discussion with your attorney and make sure you understand their fees and how the fees are to be paid. Does the firm take credit cards? Do they charge late fees or interest on late balances? Does the firm send you a monthly statement that outlines the time spent on your case that month and any fees/expenses charged to you? If you deposit money in the firm’s IOLTA trust account, are you sent a monthly accounting of your money on retainer? Before entering into any relationship with an attorney you should have a clear understanding of their fees and should receive a regular accounting of any fees or expenses for which you will be charged.
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