Step 1: Identify the issue
- My license is under investigation.
- Having problems getting licensed.
- I am charged with a crime.
- I am accused of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- I am going before Peer Review.
- I have some other issues.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Although it is not required, having an attorney on your side helps you get a better outcome than if you were on your own.
The Board is my friend, right? So, why would I need a Lawyer?
The biggest mistake most health care professionals make is assuming that their licensing Board is on their side. They may be friendly, but they are not your friends. The Board’s overriding mission is to protect the public and NOT the licensee. Since the Board works for the public/the state, the Board is not concerned about your career or protecting your rights and interests. Also, the Board has attorneys on staff to represent the Board and they will aggressively protect the Board’s interests. A licensee also needs experienced, personalized and effective assistance to protect their license, reputation, career and livelihood.
Will hiring an Attorney make me look guilty or worse to the Board?
No. The Board recognizes that licensees do not understand the nature of administrative actions and that a lawyer may be hired to assist the licensee. The attorneys at McDonald, Mackay & Weitz have all worked for a regulatory board and know first hand that hiring an attorney is not an indication of guilt nor does it make a licensee look worse to the Board.
What should I look for in an attorney?
Specific experience with the particular licensing board or regulatory entity you are dealing with. It is also helpful if the attorney has experience with the particular problem, subject area, or circumstances. The attorney should have mastery of administrative law as well as the statutes and rules governing the individual’s license.
Can’t I just represent myself?
It can’t be that big of a deal, can it? Most licensees do not understand the legal process nor do they have the time to devote to protecting their career. Very few practitioners would consider representing themselves in a malpractice case, but they willingly enter the hazardous arena of a regulatory board on their own. While a malpractice case can negatively affect your bank account and your insurance premiums, an administrative board action can not only have an adverse financial impact and make getting insurance coverage more difficult, it can entirely eliminate your ability to practice your chosen profession. Anyone who has worked for a regulatory board or on the side of a prosecutor or plaintiff will confirm that it is extremely risky or even bad judgment to represent yourself in any legal matter.
Should I just get my malpractice attorney, family lawyer, or real estate attorney to represent me before the Board?
Only if they have experience in the particular area and before the specific agency. Unlike other lawyers, the attorneys at McDonald, Mackay & Weitz, LLP focus on the practice of administrative/regulatory law and have done so for a combined fifty years. All of the attorneys at our firm have worked for a healthcare regulatory agency, so we understand the process and nuances of such representation. We regularly attend continuing education in the area of Administrative Law so that we remain current.