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How the California State Bar Discipline Process Works

Posted by attorney Jerome Fishkin

Many State Bar investigations can be closed with a limited but accurate recitation of the facts, selected documentary evidence, and a letter brief that includes citations to applicable law and relevant disciplinary case law.

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The State Bar of California has its own version of how this process works. It is drafted by the prosecutors. It can be found on the State Bar's website at . It should come as no surprise that its focus is on prosecution, not defense.

There are Rules of Procedure in the State Bar Court, along with Rules of Practice. They are often different from customary civil procedure. There are over 20 years of published cases in the California State Bar Court Reporter. If you are unaware of this publication, you are already at a serious disadvantage in trying to represent yourself at the State Bar.

We estimate that there are about 100 published appellate decisions each year, involving not only discipline, but civil duties that attorneys have. We keep up on these. We post summaries of recent ones at

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