California Bar Journal
CBJ - June 2008 #04.
Misconduct charges may be posted online
California Bar Journal June 2008 Misconduct charges may be posted online
If State Bar prosecutors get their wish, any lawyer who faces formal disciplinary charges will have that information placed on his or her profile on the bar Web site. The board of governors sent out the proposal for public comment last month. "This proposal would make what is already public more accessible," said Chief Trial Counsel Scott Drexel. "It's important to have this available to members of the public who are considering hiring an attorney."
The State Bar Web site (Attorney Search) currently provides every member's address, phone and fax number, undergraduate and law schools, membership status as well as any record of discipline. However, the discipline is recorded only after a case has been completed. Pending proceedings currently are not posted on the web.
Information about formal charges can be obtained, but it's not easy. People wishing to obtain information about the nature of the charges must pay 50 cents per page for a copy of the Notice of Disciplinary Charges or for any related documents. Or they can make an appointment with the State Bar Court in either San Francisco or Los Angeles to review the file in person.
Drexel noted that although an NDC contains only allegations of...