An important step in evaluating whether an attorney is right for you is investigating whether he or she has ever been disciplined.
All states have a disciplinary organization that closely monitors attorneys. If a complaint is made against an attorney, the state's organization will investigate the claim and determine whether or not the attorney has violated any ethical rules. If so, the organization will discipline the attorney as appropriate.
Attorneys can be disciplined for various reasons - from failing to pay their bar dues to misappropriating client funds to gross ethical violations. Some attorneys who have been disciplined are no longer eligible to practice law. You should never hire an attorney who is not currently eligible to practice law.
It is to your benefit to thoroughly research an attorney's disciplinary history. You should take into account any previous discipline taken and the circumstances surrounding the discipline.
The following state links will help you learn whether an attorney is currently eligible to practice law or has been disciplined in the past. If you need additional information regarding an attorney, follow up with the appropriate disciplinary committee.