This chapter of the Business and Professions Code constitutes the chapter on attorneys. It may be cited as the State Bar Act.
(Added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 34.)
The State Bar of California is a public corporation. It is hereinafter designated as the State Bar.
The State Bar has perpetual succession and a seal and it may sue and be sued. It may, for the purpose of carrying into effect and promoting its objectives:
(a) Make contracts.
(b) Borrow money, contract debts, issue bonds, notes and debentures and secure the payment or performance of its obligations.
(c) Own, hold, use, manage and deal in and with real and personal property.
(d) Construct, alter, maintain and repair buildings and other improvements to real property.
(e) Purchase, lease, obtain options upon, acquire by gift, bequest, devise or otherwise, any real or personal property or any interest therein.
(f) Sell, lease, exchange, convey, transfer, assign, encumber, pledge, dispose of any of its real or personal property or any interest therein, including without limitation all or any portion of its income or revenues from membership fees paid or payable by members.
(g) Do all other acts incidental to the foregoing or necessary or expedient for the administration of its affairs and the attainment of its purposes.
Pursuant to those powers enumerated in subdivisions (a) to (g), inclusive, it is recognized that the State Bar has authority to raise revenue in addition to that provided for in Section 6140 and other statutory provisions. The State Bar is empowered to raise that additional revenue by any lawful means, including, but not limited to, the creation of foundations or not-for-profit corporations.
No law of this state restricting, or prescribing a mode of procedure for the exercise of powers of state public bodies or state agencies, or classes thereof, including, but not by way of limitation, the provisions contained in Division 3 (commencing with Section 11000), Division 4 (commencing with Section 16100), and Part 1 (commencing with Section 18000) and Part 2 (commencing with Section 18500) of Division 5, of Title 2 of the Government Code, shall be applicable to the State Bar, unless the Legislature expressly so declares.
(Amended by Stats. 2004, Ch. 356, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2005.)
Protection of the public shall be the highest priority for the State Bar of California and the board of trustees in exercising their licensing, regulatory, and disciplinary functions. Whenever the protection of the public is inconsistent with other interests sought to be promoted, the protection of the public shall be paramount.
(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2012.)
(a) On or before February 1, 2013, there shall be created within the State Bar a Governance in the Public Interest Task Force comprised of 7 members, including 6 members appointed as provided herein and the President of the State Bar. Two members shall be elected attorney members of the board of trustees who are selected by the elected attorney members, two members shall be attorney members of the board of trustees appointed by the Supreme Court who are selected by the Supreme Court appointees, and two members shall be public members of the board of trustees selected by the public members. The president shall preside over its meetings, all of which shall be held consistent with Section 6026.5.
(b) On or before May 15, 2014, and every three years thereafter, the task force shall prepare and submit a report to the Supreme Court, the Governor, and the Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary that includes its recommendations for enhancing the protection of the public and ensuring that protection of the public is the highest priority in the licensing, regulation, and discipline of attorneys, to be reviewed by the Assembly and Senate Committees on Judiciary in their regular consideration of the annual State Bar dues measure. If the task force does not reach a consensus on all of the recommendations in its report, the dissenting members of the task force may prepare and submit a dissenting report to the same entities described in this subdivision, to be reviewed by the committees in the same manner.
(c) The task force shall make suggestions to the board of trustees regarding possible additions to, or revisions of, the strategic plan required by Section 6140.12. In addition, the task force shall also make suggestions to the board of trustees regarding other issues requested from time to time by the Legislature.
(d) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2013.
(Repealed (Jan. 1, 2012) and added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 2.5. Effective January 1, 2012. Added section operative January 1, 2013, by its own provisions.)
Commencing on or before February 1, 2011, the State Bar shall make available, upon request of a member of the public, the classification and total annual compensation paid to each of its employees by name, as well as any and all rules, policies, and agreements pertaining to the compensation and benefits of any employees of the State Bar.
(Added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 476, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2011.)
The members of the State Bar are all persons admitted and licensed to practice law in this State except justices and judges of courts of record during their continuance in office.
(Added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 34.)
(a) A member of the State Bar shall maintain all of the following on the official membership records of the State Bar:
(1) The member’s current office address and telephone number or, if no office is maintained, the address to be used for State Bar purposes or purposes of the agency charged with attorney discipline.
(2) All specialties in which the member is certified.
(3) Any other jurisdictions in which the member is admitted and the dates of his or her admission.
(4) The jurisdiction, and the nature and date of any discipline imposed by another jurisdiction, including the terms and conditions of any probation imposed, and, if suspended or disbarred in another jurisdiction, the date of any reinstatement in that jurisdiction.
(5) Any other information as may be required by agreement with or by conditions of probation imposed by the agency charged with attorney discipline.
A member shall notify the membership records office of the State Bar of any change in the information required by paragraphs (1), (4), and (5) within 30 days of any change and of the change in the information required by paragraphs (2) and (3) on or before the first day of February of each year.
(b) Every former member of the State Bar who has been ordered by the Supreme Court to comply with Rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court shall maintain on the official membership records of the State Bar the former member’s current address and within 10 days after any change therein, shall file a change of address with a membership records office of the State Bar until such time as the former member is no longer subject to the order.
(c) The notice initiating a proceeding conducted under this chapter may be served upon the member or former member of the State Bar to whom it is directed by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the member or former member at the latest address shown on the official membership records of the State Bar. The service is complete at the time of the mailing but any prescribed period of notice and any right or duty to do any act or make any response within any prescribed period or on a date certain after the notice is served by mail shall be extended five days if the place of address is within the State of California, 10 days if the place of address is outside the State of California but within the United States, and 20 days if the place of address is outside the United States. A member of the State Bar or former member may waive the requirements of this subdivision and may, with the written consent of another member of the State Bar, designate that other member to receive service of any notice or papers in any proceeding conducted under this chapter.
(d) The State Bar shall not make available to the general public the information specified in paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) unless that information is required to be made available by a condition of probation. That information is, however, available to the State Bar, the Supreme Court, or the agency charged with attorney discipline.
(e) The State Bar may develop a prescribed form for the making of reports required by this section, usage of which it may require by rule or regulation.
(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 474, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)
Members of the State Bar are divided into two classes:
(a) Active members.
(b) Inactive members.
(Added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 34.)
Every member of the State Bar is an active member until as in Section 6007 of this code provided or at his request, he is enrolled as an inactive member.
(Amended by Stats. 1977, Ch. 58.)
Inactive members are those members who have requested that they be enrolled as inactive members or who have been enrolled as inactive members by action of the board of trustees as set forth in Section 6007.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 3. Effective January 1, 2012.)
Active members who retire from practice shall be enrolled as inactive members at their request.
Inactive members are not entitled to hold office or vote or practice law. Those who are enrolled as inactive members at their request may, on application and payment of all fees required, become active members. Those who are or have been enrolled as inactive members at their request are members of the State Bar for purposes of Section 15 of Article VI of the California Constitution. Those who are enrolled as inactive members pursuant to Section 6007 may become active members as provided in that section.
Inactive members have such other privileges, not inconsistent with this chapter, as the board of trustees provides.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 2012.)
(a) When a member requires involuntary treatment pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 5300) of Chapter 2 of Division 5 of, or Part 2 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 6 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or when under an order pursuant to Section 3051, 3106.5, or 3152 of the Welfare and Institutions Code he or she has been placed in or returned to inpatient status at the California Rehabilitation Center or its branches, or when he or she has been determined insane or mentally incompetent and is confined for treatment or placed on outpatient status pursuant to the Penal Code, or on account of his or her mental condition a guardian or conservator, for his or her estate or person or both, has been appointed, the Board of Trustees or an officer of the State Bar shall enroll the member as an inactive member.
The clerk of any court making an order containing any of the determinations or adjudications referred to in the immediately preceding paragraph shall send a certified copy of that order to the State Bar at the same time that the order is entered.
The clerk of any court with which is filed a notice of certification for intensive treatment pursuant to Article 4 (commencing with Section 5250) of Chapter 2 of Division 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, upon receipt of the notice, shall transmit a certified copy of it to the State Bar.
The State Bar may procure a certified copy of any determination, order, adjudication, appointment, or notice when the clerk concerned has failed to transmit one or when the proceeding was had in a court other than a court of this state.
In the case of an enrollment pursuant to this subdivision, the State Bar shall terminate the enrollment when the member has had the fact of his or her restoration to capacity judicially determined, upon the member’s release from inpatient status at the California Rehabilitation Center or its branches pursuant to Section 3053, 3109, or 3151 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, or upon the member’s unconditional release from the medical facility pursuant to Section 5304 or 5305 of the Welfare and Institutions Code; and on payment of all fees required.
When a member is placed in, returned to, or released from inpatient status at the California Rehabilitation Center or its branches, or discharged from the narcotics treatment program, the Director of Corrections or his or her designee shall transmit to the State Bar a certified notice attesting to that fact.
(b) The board shall also enroll a member of the State Bar as an inactive member in each of the following cases:
(1) A member asserts a claim of insanity or mental incompetence in any pending action or proceeding, alleging his or her inability to understand the nature of the action or proceeding or inability to assist counsel in representation of the member.
(2) The court makes an order assuming jurisdiction over the member’s law practice, pursuant to Section 6180.5 or 6190.3.
(3) After notice and opportunity to be heard before the board or a committee, the board finds that the member, because of mental infirmity or illness, or because of the habitual use of intoxicants or drugs, is (i) unable or habitually fails to perform his or her duties or undertakings competently, or (ii) unable to practice law without substantial threat of harm to the interests of his or her clients or the public. No proceeding pursuant to this paragraph shall be instituted unless the board or a committee finds, after preliminary investigation, or during the course of a disciplinary proceeding, that probable cause exists therefor. The determination of probable cause is administrative in character and no notice or hearing is required.
In the case of an enrollment pursuant to this subdivision, the board shall terminate the enrollment upon proof that the facts found as to the member’s disability no longer exist and on payment of all fees required.
(c) (1) The board may order the involuntary inactive enrollment of an attorney upon a finding that the attorney’s conduct poses a substantial threat of harm to the interests of the attorney’s clients or to the public or upon a finding based on all the available evidence, including affidavits, that the attorney has not complied with Section 6002.1 and cannot be located after reasonable investigation.
(2) In order to find that the attorney’s conduct poses a substantial threat of harm to the interests of the attorney’s clients or the public pursuant to this subdivision, each of the following factors shall be found, based on all the available evidence, including affidavits:
(A) The attorney has caused or is causing substantial harm to the attorney’s clients or the public.
(B) The attorney’s clients or the public are likely to suffer greater injury from the denial of the involuntary inactive enrollment than the attorney is likely to suffer if it is granted, or there is a reasonable likelihood that the harm will reoccur or continue. Where the evidence establishes a pattern of behavior, including acts likely to cause substantial harm, the burden of proof shall shift to the attorney to show that there is no reasonable likelihood that the harm will reoccur or continue.
(C) There is a reasonable probability that the State Bar will prevail on the merits of the underlying disciplinary matter.
(3) In the case of an enrollment under this subdivision, the underlying matter shall proceed on an expedited basis.
(4) The board shall order the involuntary inactive enrollment of an attorney upon the filing of a recommendation of disbarment after hearing or default. For purposes of this section, that attorney shall be placed on involuntary inactive enrollment regardless of the membership status of the attorney at the time.
(5) The board shall formulate and adopt rules of procedure to implement this subdivision.
In the case of an enrollment pursuant to this subdivision, the board shall terminate the involuntary inactive enrollment upon proof that the attorney’s conduct no longer poses a substantial threat of harm to the interests of the attorney’s clients or the public or where an attorney who could not be located proves compliance with Section 6002.1.
(d) (1) The board may order the involuntary inactive enrollment of an attorney for violation of probation upon the occurrence of all of the following:
(A) The attorney is under a suspension order any portion of which has been stayed during a period of probation.
(B) The board finds that probation has been violated.
(C) The board recommends to the court that the attorney receive an actual suspension on account of the probation violation or other disciplinary matter.
(2) The board shall terminate an enrollment under this subdivision upon expiration of a period equal to the period of stayed suspension in the probation matter, or until the court makes an order regarding the recommended actual suspension in the probation matter, whichever occurs first.
(3) If the court orders a period of actual suspension in the probation matter, any period of involuntary inactive enrollment pursuant to this subdivision shall be credited against the period of actual suspension ordered.
(e) (1) The board shall order the involuntary, inactive enrollment of a member whose default has been entered pursuant to the State Bar Rules of Procedure if both of the following conditions are met:
(A) The notice was duly served pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 6002.1.
(B) The notice contained the following language at or near the beginning of the notice, in capital letters:
IF YOU FAIL TO FILE AN ANSWER TO THIS NOTICE WITHIN THE TIME ALLOWED BY STATE BAR RULES, INCLUDING EXTENSIONS, OR IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR AT THE STATE BAR COURT TRIAL, (1) YOUR DEFAULT SHALL BE ENTERED, (2) YOU SHALL BE ENROLLED AS AN INVOLUNTARY INACTIVE MEMBER OF THE STATE BAR AND WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO PRACTICE LAW UNLESS THE DEFAULT IS SET ASIDE ON MOTION TIMELY MADE UNDER THE RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE STATE BAR, (3) YOU SHALL NOT BE PERMITTED TO PARTICIPATE FURTHER IN THESE PROCEEDINGS UNLESS YOUR DEFAULT IS SET ASIDE, AND (4) YOU SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ADDITIONAL DISCIPLINE.
(2) The board shall terminate the involuntary inactive enrollment of a member under this subdivision when the member’s default is set aside on motion timely made under the State Bar Rules of Procedure or the disciplinary proceedings are completed.
(3) The enrollment under this subdivision is administrative in character and no hearing is required.
(4) Upon the involuntary inactive enrollment of a member under this subdivision, the notice required by subdivision (b) of Section 6092.5 shall be promptly given.
(5) The board may delegate its authority under this subdivision to the presiding referee or presiding judge of the State Bar Court or his or her designee.
(f) The pendency or determination of a proceeding or investigation provided for by this section shall not abate or terminate a disciplinary investigation or proceeding except as required by the facts and law in a particular case.
(g) No membership fees shall accrue against the member during the period he or she is enrolled as an inactive member pursuant to this section.
(h) The board may order a full range of interim remedies or final discipline short of involuntary inactive enrollment, including, but not limited to, conditions of probation following final discipline, or directly ordered interim remedies, to restrict or supervise an attorney’s practice of law, as well as proceedings under subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d), or under Section 6102 or 6190. They may include restrictions as to scope of practice, monetary accounting procedures, review of performance by probation or other monitors appointed by the board, or such other measures as may be determined, after hearing, to protect present and future clients from likely substantial harm. These restrictions may be imposed upon a showing as provided in subdivision (c), except that where license restriction is proposed, the showing required of the State Bar under the factors described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) need not be made.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 2012.)
All property of the State Bar is hereby declared to be held for essential public and governmental purposes in the judicial branch of the government and such property is exempt from all taxes of the State or any city, city and county, district, public corporation, or other political subdivision, public body or public agency.
(Added by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1526.)
No bond, note, debenture, evidence of indebtedness, mortgage, deed of trust, assignment, pledge, contract, lease, agreement, or other contractual obligation of the State Bar shall:
(a) Create a debt or other liability of the state nor of any entity other than the State Bar (or any successor public corporation).
(b) Create any personal liability on the part of the members of the State Bar or the members of the board of trustees or any person executing the same, by reason of the issuance or execution thereof.
(c) Be required to be approved or authorized under the provisions of any other law or regulation of this state.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 6. Effective January 1, 2012.)
Bonds, notes, debentures and other evidences of indebtedness of the State Bar are hereby declared to be issued for essential public and governmental purposes in the judicial branch of the government and, together with interest thereon and income therefrom, shall be exempt from taxes.
(Added by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1526.)
The State Bar may vest in any obligee or trustee the right, in the event of default upon any obligation of the State Bar, to take possession of property of the State Bar, cause the appointment of a receiver for such property, acquire title thereto through foreclosure proceedings, and excercise such other rights and remedies as may be mutually agreed upon between the State Bar and the holder or proposed holder of any such obligation.
(Added by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1526.)
All powers granted to the State Bar by Sections 6001 and 6008.3 may be exercised and carried out by action of its board of trustees. In any resolution, indenture, contract, agreement, or other instrument providing for, creating, or otherwise relating to, any obligation of the State Bar, the board may make, fix, and provide such terms, conditions, covenants, restrictions, and other provisions as the board deems necessary or desirable to facilitate the creation, issuance, or sale of such obligation or to provide for the payment or security of such obligation and any interest thereon, including, but not limited to, covenants and agreements relating to fixing and maintaining membership fees.
(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 7. Effective January 1, 2012.)
Whenever the board has pledged, placed a charge upon, or otherwise made available all or any portion of the income or revenue from membership fees for the payment of security of an obligation of the State Bar or any interest thereon, and so long as any such obligation or any interest thereon remains unpaid, the Legislature shall not reduce the maximum membership fee below the maximum in effect at the time such obligation is created or incurred, and the provisions of this section shall constitute a covenant to the holder or holders of any such obligation.
(Added by Stats. 1957, Ch. 1526.)
The State Bar shall award no contract for goods, services, or both, for an aggregate amount in excess of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000), or for information technology goods, services, or both, for an aggregate amount in excess of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000), except pursuant to the standards established in Article 4 (commencing with Section 10335) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code. The State Bar shall establish a request for proposal procedure by rule, pursuant to the general standards established in Article 4 (commencing with Section 10335) of Chapter 2 of Part 2 of Division 2 of the Public Contract Code. For the purposes of this section, “information technology” includes, but is not limited to, all electronic technology systems and services, automated information handling, system design and analysis, conversion voice, video, and data communications, network systems, requisite facilities, equipment, system controls, stimulation, electronic commerce, and all related interactions between people and machines.
(Amended by Stats. 2010, Ch. 2, Sec. 1. Effective January 25, 2010.)
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a city, county, or city and county may require attorneys who qualify as lobbyists, as defined by the local jurisdiction, to register and disclose their lobbying activities directed toward the local agencies of those jurisdictions, in the same manner and to the same extent such registration and disclosure is required of nonattorney lobbyists. Any prohibitions against specified activities by lobbyists enacted by a city, county, or city and county shall also apply to attorneys who qualify as lobbyists.
(b) For purposes of this section, information about a lobbyist that may be required to be disclosed is:
(1) The name, business address, and telephone number of the lobbyist, of any lobbying firm of which the lobbyist is a partner, owner, officer, or employee; and of any persons or lobbying firms paid to lobby by the lobbyist.
(2) The name, business address, and business telephone number of each client who pays the lobbyist to lobby; the specific matter and agency lobbied, itemized by client; and the amount of money paid to the lobbyist for lobbying and the total expenses of the lobbyist for lobbying, itemized by client.
(3) All gifts or payments made by the lobbyist to officials in the jurisdiction, itemized by the name of the official, the amount, date, and description of the gift or payment, and the names of the person making the gift or payment and the person receiving the gift or payment.
(4) All campaign contributions made, arranged, or delivered by the lobbyist to officials in the jurisdiction, specified by amount, date, and name of the official receiving the contribution.
(Added by Stats. 1994, Ch. 526, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1995.)
The Legislature finds and declares that it is important to inform taxpayers that they may make voluntary contributions to certain funds or programs, as provided on the state income tax return. The Legislature further finds and declares that many taxpayers remain unaware of the voluntary contribution check-offs on the state income tax return. Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to encourage all persons who prepare state income tax returns, including attorneys, to inform their clients in writing, prior to the completion of any state income tax return, that they may make a contribution to any voluntary contribution check-off on the state income tax return if they so choose.
(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 485, Sec. 5. Effective January 1, 1999.)
The State Bar shall adopt procedures to facilitate reporting of mandatory and voluntary information by providing members with a centralized mechanism for reporting information online at the State Bar Internet Web site, including, but not limited to, data required to be provided pursuant to the State Bar Act, or by other statutes, rules, and case law, and demographic information. Any demographic data collected shall be used only for general purposes and shall not be identified to any individual member or his or her State Bar record.
(Added by Stats. 2006, Ch. 390, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2007.)
(a) (1) The State Bar shall determine the manner by which to reduce the board of trustees from 23 members to 19 members, as described in Section 6011, pursuant to the election and appointment processes specified in Sections 6012, 6013.1, 6013.2, and 6013.3.
(2) The State Bar shall develop a plan for implementing the transition to a 19-member board by January 31, 2012.
(3) By January 31, 2012, the State Bar shall submit a written report to the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary that includes, but is not limited to, the implementation plan described in paragraph (2).
(b) The State Bar shall complete the transition to a 19-member board no later than October 31, 2014.
(c) The State Bar shall not change, reduce, shorten, lengthen, or abolish the terms of board members commencing prior to December 31, 2011, or force any board member to resign in order to institute a 19-member board pursuant to this section.
(d) The State Bar shall report annually to the Senate and Assembly Committees on Judiciary on its progress toward implementing the transition to a 19-member board.
(Added by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 8. Effective January 1, 2012.)