Many people think that as long as they are smart and well-spoken, they can take care of a DOH complaint on their own. “After all,” they reason, “the questions posed in the complaint seem straightforward enough, I didn’t do anything wrong, and I can explain my actions better than anyone else can. So why shouldn’t I just represent myself and save the money I would have to spend on an attorney?”
In some other context, it might be true that you can explain your actions without engaging a professional. For example, if you are having a conversation with a friend, or need to clarify a misunderstanding with a family member, by all means give it a try.
In the case of a DOH complaint, however, a licensee is best advised to have legal representation. A DOH complaint is a serious legal issue, and your livelihood could be at stake. Take advantage of every resource available to you. Each area of law has its own idiosyncrasies, and lawyers who focus their efforts in each field become familiar with those unique issues. While you might have already hired a lawyer to help you with taxes, or a traffic ticket, that attorney will not necessarily be familiar with the DOH. Additionally, my dual degreed expertise in counseling and law enable me to understand the subtleties of the work you do.
DOH defenses are different from many other areas of law. They require training to answer the questions asked as well as to understand what the underlying related issues might be. If you needed medical advice, you go to a doctor. If you need therapy, go to a therapist. Likewise, if you need legal advice having to do with a DOH complaint, go to an attorney who has experience and expertise in this particular area.
As to the cost: I suggest that licensees have insurance that covers board license defense in addition to liability coverage. Coverage of license usually has to be purchased separately from the liability coverage. If you have purchased the maximal amount of insurance available for that purpose – particularly for defense of your license — then attorney’s fees associated with a DOH defense may be covered in full by your policy.
My clients tell me repeatedly that my dual-degreed experience and training as both counselor and attorney have been invaluable to them. While there can never be any guarantees, I aim to help them get through the process with dignity intact. You can read some of their testimonials on this site. Even if you don’t have a board complaint at this time, feel free to call me for a free consultation if you have any questions.
The best time to find an attorney can be when you don’t need one. Then, if you do need an attorney, you’ll know exactly whom to call!