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Remember The Three C’s When Your License is at Stake!

Candor, Contrition, Cooperation

A reminder to ICAP members and licensed professionals in general to remember those three words when dealing with difficult situations.

You open your mail one day and staring back at you is a letter in an official looking envelope from the State or some faceless bureaucratic staffer. Your stomach drops to the ground; you start gasping for breath. Whether or not you have done something wrong, you are instantly sick. An “investigator” has sent you an inquiry saying someone has “made a complaint against your license” or has accused you of being incompetent, unethical, or something worse. “They” now want you to “come in”, so “they” can “talk” to you. After your initial bad reaction, and after you have read the nasti-gram again, it is time to take a step back, regroup, and to decide what to do. Whatever you do, it will certainly cost you some time, probably some money, and a huge amount of aggravation and angst.

First get a lawyer. The State will be represented by one or more of them and you should be too. It is almost always a disadvantage to go unrepresented. It is also penny wise and pound foolish. Remember, whoever “they” are, they can take your license and with it your livelihood. Realizing this, one must refocus – that is actually confront the problem – and deal with the inquisitors to get the issue resolved as favorably and expeditiously as possible. Though “they” may claim otherwise, it is important to remember they are not your friends – they are adversaries. Their job is to protect the public at large and not you.

But, they are not super humans. They have the same character traits as everyone else. Those traits, or strengths and weaknesses, are affected by a licensee’s attitude and approach. Attitude and approach have a significant impact on their treatment and perception of the problem.


Just as honey gets more bees than vinegar, cooperation can go a long way. Cooperation makes their job easier. It establishes a rapport, a relationship. Fighting everything can be a good approach as the State has the burden of proof, but in a war of attrition, they will usually win as they have much deeper pockets and more assets than you.


No one is sympathetic with arrogant people. When they fail, the reaction most usually have is “they deserved it.” People, however, are willing to forgive – even the mighty – if they express remorse or show regret. When someone shows regret, a common reaction is to ease up – even those asking the questions!


Finally, the most important factor is honesty and sincerity. Without integrity, anything said means nothing. All becomes suspect. Pleas fall on deaf ears. Someone may be guilty of exercising poor judgment, or poor decision-making or having poor work skills – all of which may be bad, but if then caught in a lie, it becomes akin to the situation where the “cover-up is worse than the crime”. The punishment or penalty or discipline will be meted out for that as opposed to the original issue which was brought before the regulators in the first place.

So when faced with this situation, reach out for help, but always remember the Three C’s!