The State Bar Board of Trustees approved a $164.7 million budget for 2017 that includes money for critical discipline-related initiatives despite reduced funding.
The vast majority of the funding received from mandatory attorney licensing fees goes to the attorney discipline system, including the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel, State Bar Court, and the Client Security Fund.
The bar's largest source of General Fund revenue - from mandatory fees paid by attorneys - was 5.7 percent less this year due to the lack of an annual fee bill from the Legislature. The California Supreme Court issued an interim fee assessment order to fund the bar's discipline-related functions.
Chief Operating Officer Leah Wilson said the budget "reflects a combination of cost reductions and use of reserves to ensure the stability and health of the organization, as well as our ability to advance key initiatives."
In order to ensure a robust attorney discipline system, the budget boosts funding for the Office of Chief Trial Counsel, which investigates and prosecutes allegations of attorney misconduct.
The budget also earmarks money for a number of programs that were not funded by the court such as the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Committee, which vets potential judicial candidates for the governor's office, and the bar's work to increase access to legal services for low-income Californians.
Other one-time expenses in the budget include: ? $2.5 million to purchase an upgraded case management system that will improve the bar's ability to...