Defending Your Professional License

Edwards Law Group LLC has a successful track record defending health care and other professionals in licensing and disciplinary actions before the Board of Medical Examiners, the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation and the Wisconsin Department of Regulation. From our office in Madison, we represent licensed professionals throughout the state.

We understand the emotional turmoil and financial impact that disciplinary investigations and sanctions have on licensed professionals. We guide our clients in the early stages of the investigative process, prepare appropriate responses to the investigating agency and continue until the best solution is achieved.

Protecting Your Reputation And Your Livelihood

We aggressively defend our professional clients in formal disciplinary proceedings to achieve a dismissal or satisfactory settlement. It is our job to:

  • Evaluate whether a rule violation has occurred
  • Bring forward facts that are favorable to you to the investigating attorney and examining board
  • Seek to mitigate potential sanctions
  • Communicate with you at every stage of your case so you understand your risks, available options and likely outcomes

Often we are able to close an investigation with a determination by the licensing agency that there is no violation or grounds to seek discipline. If a potential ethical violation or practice violation is found to have occurred, we negotiate resolutions, including an outright dismissal or a stipulated settlement that minimizes potential adverse impacts on our client's license.

If clients hire us soon after receiving notice of an investigation, we assume primary responsibility for providing information to the licensing agency and a response to the investigation. We consult with clients, review their records, consult with experts if necessary, and provide a response to the agency that explains our client's conduct clearly, completely and in the most favorable light.

Often a complaint is initiated based on a miscommunication or misunderstanding between a licensed professional and his or her client. Sometimes the professional licensing board or attorney prosecuting the case will misunderstand the law applicable to the allegations or misunderstand the professional conduct required under the circumstances of the case. When appropriate, we will consult with experts to understand the appropriate standard of care and professional conduct rules applicable to the alleged rule violations.

Overview Of The Disciplinary Process (cases not involving attorneys or doctors)

The Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing (DRL) is the administrative agency that issues new licenses, renewal applications and reinstatement of licenses for more than 100 professions. The DRL investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct complaints. It and each profession's examining board may discipline licensees who violate professional conduct rules or who have engaged in unprofessional conduct.

The Department of Regulation and Licensing issues licenses to many professions, including doctors, chiropractors, veterinarians, nurses and mental health professionals.

Many of the professions are regulated by examining boards whose members include licensees in that profession and members of the public. For example, physicians are regulated by the Medical Examining Board, nurses are regulated by the Board of Nursing and psychologists are regulated by the Psychology Examining Board. Attorneys are governed by the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation. For accountants and CPAs, it is the Accounting Examining Board.

Several professions do not have examining boards, but still have their licenses issued by the Department of Regulation and Licensing.

Unprofessional Conduct Complaints And Sanctions

The Division of Enforcement in the Department of Regulation and Licensing screens, investigates and prosecutes complaints of unprofessional conduct in the professions. Each examining board establishes professional conduct rules. Professional misconduct complaints may include allegations of dishonesty, conflict of interest, substandard health care, improper or inadequate communications, sexual misconduct, inadequate record-keeping, etc.

Opening Of An Investigative File

If the Division of Enforcement and the professional examining board believe there is a valid basis for a finding of unprofessional conduct, an investigative file is opened. A licensed professional may be contacted by a Division of Enforcement investigator or a Division of Enforcement attorney, or the licensed professional may receive a letter in the mail stating that a complaint has been made against him or her and that a response to the complaint is required. In most cases, the specific allegations of misconduct are explained to the licensee, who is given an opportunity to respond. After receiving information and records related to the matter, the Division of Enforcement attorney will meet with a member of the examining board and make a preliminary decision as to whether a rule of professional conduct has been violated, creating a reasonable basis to impose a sanction against the licensee.

If an investigative file is not dismissed after information is received from the licensee or resolved with the licensee by stipulation, a formal disciplinary complaint is commenced. The formal disciplinary complaint process is an administrative proceeding in which an evidentiary hearing takes place in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). After both sides have presented their evidence and arguments, the ALJ will submit a proposed decision to the professional examining board, with copies to the attorney for the Division of Enforcement and to the licensee's attorney. Both the Division of Enforcement and the licensee have an opportunity to object to the proposed decision. The professional examining board then issues a final decision on whether professional misconduct has occurred and may impose sanctions including reprimand, suspension or revocation of the professional license.

An unfavorable decision by the professional examining board can be appealed to the circuit court, and the circuit court's decision is subject to review by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals and, ultimately, by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Ensure That Your Rights Are Protected

To schedule a free consultation concerning a professional licensing/disciplinary matter or malpractice claim, please call 608-390-3394 or send a message.