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California State Bar Defense

We defend Attorneys in disciplinary proceedings before the State Bar of California

California State Bar Defense Attorney

California State Bar Defense Lawyer

The State Bar of California licenses approximately 180,000 Attorneys in the State of California. Most California Lawyers have minimal or no contact with the enforcement arm of the California State Bar, called the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, or OCTC. For Attorneys facing California State Bar discipline, the consequences are profound. The State Bar disciplinary process is complex, procedural and time consuming. Lawyers facing a Complaint, Investigation, or Notice of Disciplinary Charges (NDC) should seek legal representation from an experienced California State Bar License Defense Attorney. Common State Bar disciplinary violations include:

  • Acts of Moral Turpitude
  • Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Commingling Funds
  • Communication With a Represented Party
  • Conflict of Interest
  • Conversion of Client Funds
  • Criminal Convictions
  • Failure to Communicate With the Client
  • Failure to Cooperate in a Disciplinary Proceeding
  • Failure to Maintain Client File
  • Failure to Obey a Court Order
  • Failure to Perform Legal Services
  • Failure to Report Court Sanctions
  • Fee Splitting With Non Lawyers
  • Illegal or Unconscionable Fee
  • Misappropriation
  • Misleading a Court of Judge
  • Sexual Misconduct With a Client
  • Trust Account Violations
  • Unauthorized Practice of Law
  • Violation of Disciplinary Probation
  • Violation of Oath or Duties of an Attorney

State Bar of California Investigation Defense Lawyer

Most California State Bar Investigations begin with a consumer Complaint. However, California State Bar Investigations also occur due to criminal convictions and referrals from law enforcement and administrative law agencies. The State Bar filters out cases that on its face have no merit. The State Bar will designate a potential Investigation as an Inquiry. Inquiries are forwarded to State Bar Investigators. The State Bar of California utilizes non sworn civilian Investigators to conduct State Bar Investigations. The State Bar of California works closely with District Attorneys’ Offices to investigate and prosecute Lawyers engaged in criminal activity. Administrative Law Due Process Rights in the State Bar disciplinary process differ substantially from the Due Process Rights accorded in criminal law. It is important to have an attorney that understands the California State Bar lawyer disciplinary process. A State Bar of California Investigation can result in the following disciplinary options:

  • The State Bar of California can close the Complaint
  • The State Bar of California can issue a Warning Letter
  • The State Bar of California and the Respondent can enter into an Agreement in Lieu of Discipline (ALD)
  • The State Bar of California can proceed with a Notice of Disciplinary Charges (NDC)

State Bar disciplinary proceedings can result in the following types of discipline:

  • Admonition
  • Private Reproval
  • Public Reproval
  • Probation
  • Suspension (actual suspension or stayed suspension)
  • Disbarment

In cases involving criminal conduct, the State Bar may refer the case to the District Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution. If you are a Lawyer facing a California State Bar Investigation, contact a California State Bar Defense Attorney for representation.

California Law License Defense Attorney

Prior to the filing of a Notice of Disciplinary Charges, the State Bar will notify the Respondent of two things; One, a Notice of Intent to File Discipline Charges and two, the right to an Early Neutral Evaluation Conference, called an ENEC. An ENEC occurs before a State Bar Court Judge. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel, or OCTC, represents the State Bar of California. If a settlement does not occur, the Office of Chief Trial Counsel will file a Notice of Disciplinary Charges, or NDC.

The filing of a Notice of Disciplinary Charges requires a Respondent to file an Answer within 20 days. OCTC and the Respondent will exchange discovery. A trial in State Bar Court before a State Bar Court Judge will generally be scheduled within 125 days of the filing of the NDC. In many instances, a Settlement Conference will be scheduled. Most State Bar disciplinary matters are settled via Stipulation (or settlement). State Bar of California disciplinary matters that do not result in a settlement proceed to trial in State Bar Court. Lawyers facing a California State Bar Notice of Disciplinary Charges should contact an experienced California State Bar Discipline Defense Attorney for representation. Common causes of action for State Bar discipline include:

  • Bail Capping
  • Billing for Services Not Performed
  • Breach of Confidentiality
  • Client Abandonment
  • Employing the Use of Runners or Cappers
  • False MCLE Compliance
  • Gross Negligence in the Practice of Law
  • Harm to the Administration of Justice
  • Home Loan Modification Violations
  • Improper Withdrawal From Representation
  • Personal Injury Capping
  • Unlawful Solicitation
  • Willful and Intentional Acts in the Practice of Law
  • Workers Compensation Capping

State Bar of California Disciplinary Hearing Defense Attorney

The California State Bar Court maintains Hearing Department locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. A State Bar Judge presides over a State Bar Court Trial. A State Bar Trial is an Administrative Law proceeding, which differs from trials in Superior Court. A State Bar Court Judge has 90 days to file a Decision. A State Bar Judge can impose a Private Reproval or Public Reproval. If a State Bar Court Judge issues a decision involving probation, a suspension or disbarment, the California Supreme Court must approve the discipline. A State Bar Court Judge’s Decision can be appealed within 30 days to the State Bar Court Review Department and later to the California Supreme Court. California Lawyers facing a California State Bar Court Trial need effective representation from a California State Bar Disciplinary Defense Lawyer. The firm represents lawyers facing State Bar  discipline from throughout California, including from:

  • Bakersfield
  • Fresno
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Orange County
  • Riverside
  • Sacramento
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Ventura County

California State Bar Discipline and Criminal Convictions

The California State Bar disciplines attorneys due to criminal convictions. Depending on the nature of the criminal conviction, discipline can range from no discipline all the way to summary disbarment. There are several categories of criminal convictions, which include:

  • Felony offenses involving the specific intent to deceive, defraud, steal, or make or suborn a false statement
  • Felony offenses involving moral turpitude
  • Felony offenses not involving moral turpitude, but involving other misconduct warranting discipline
  • Misdemeanor offenses involving moral turpitude
  • Misdemeanor offenses not involving moral turpitude, but involving other misconduct warranting discipline

The State Bar of California does not conduct criminal investigations against attorneys. However, the State Bar of California works closely with law enforcement to investigate attorneys involved in criminal activity. Common criminal offenses that will result in a State Bar of California disciplinary proceeding include:

  • Auto Insurance Fraud
  • Capping
  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Grand Theft
  • Healthcare Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Medicare Fraud
  • Racketeering
  • Sex Offenses
  • Theft
  • Violent Crimes
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Workers Compensation Fraud

Attorneys convicted of criminal offenses that face discipline from the California State Bar and lawyers under criminal investigation need an experienced California State Bar Defense Attorney for representation.

State Bar of California Moral Character Application Lawyer 

The State Bar of California thoroughly investigates all applicants for Law licenses. This is commonly known as the Moral Character Determination. The applicant bears the burden of proving good moral character to practice law. If a question of moral character arises, the applicant may be invited to attend an Informal Conference with the Subcommittee on Moral Character. If the Subcommittee on Moral Character declines to certify the applicant, the applicant can Appeal to State Bar Court. The Hearing Department of the State Bar Court will then conduct a trial. State Bar Court Trials and Appeals for Moral Character Determinations are conducted in the same manner as for licensed attorneys. Common reasons for applicants to be denied Admission to the Bar include:

  • Academic Dishonesty / Plagiarism
  • Administrative Proceeding Discipline
  • Dishonesty, Fraud or Deceit
  • Lack of Candor
  • Felony criminal convictions
  • Financial irresponsibility
  • Misdemeanor criminal convictions
  • Misrepresentation on Application
  • Past Due Child Support