Asked if he’s ever fazed by the misdeeds he sees as chair of the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, Jim Cameron laughs. “Yes, I am,” answers Cameron, a practicing attorney in Michigan for thirty-seven years. “I am surprised sometimes at the factual background of the claims.”

Cameron, the managing member for Dykema’s Ann Arbor office and a former Ann Arbor Public Schools trustee, describes the board as the “enforcement arm” of Michigan’s attorney discipline system, roughly comparable to the appellate branch of the court system. The state Attorney Grievance Commission investigates complaints against Michigan lawyers, and, if it finds misconduct, recommends disciplinary action. Its recommendations can be appealed to the Attorney Discipline Board (and, beyond that, to the Michigan Supreme Court). Penalties can range from a verbal reprimand to a temporary suspension of a lawyer’s license to permanent disbarment.

Cameron says he joined the volunteer board five years ago because “I think we need to be sure that the lawyers in our state are meeting the standards that are required of them.” Some of the most common cases to come before the board, he says, involve attorneys failing to keep clients apprised of the status of their litigation, or otherwise failing to adequately represent them.

There are more outrageous examples, however–like the time a male attorney representing a woman in a divorce case “sought certain favors from his client in lieu of making a financial payment,” Cameron says. “That was pretty bad. That ranks right up there with one of the worst things I’ve seen.” In a 2009 case similar to the one Cameron describes, the ADB suspended the attorney’s license for 180 days.

Several cases related to the trials of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick have also come before the board during Cameron’s tenure. The grievance commission recommended that attorney Mike Stefani, who leaked Kilpatrick’s incriminating text messages to the Detroit Free Press, be reprimanded for not disclosing the messages to the court; the ADB raised his penalty to a thirty-day suspension. But when the grievance commission recommended disbarring Detroit city attorney Valerie Colbert-Osamuede for lying to the city council, the court, and its own investigators about a secret deal to block release of the messages, the ADB dialed back the penalty to a ninety-day suspension.

Though disbarment is rare, it does happen. In October 2013, the board booted Anthony Chambers, a Detroit attorney who notably represented “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. In a different case, the ADB found that Chambers had used clients’ advance payments for his own personal purposes, failed to seek their legal objectives–and then refused to refund their money.