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Rules of Professional Conduct

California State Bar Fingerprint Rule

Posted by Anthony Radogna | Aug 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

As California attorneys, we are all very aware of the fact that we are required to get re-fingerprinted this year. (See California Rule of Court Rule 9.9.5)

We are way past the point of complaining about it :), but it is important to know what lies ahead for some attorneys now that the State Bar has record of an attorney conviction that they may have not previously known about.

The State Bar has since received criminal record information from both the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Not only has the State Bar received records of convictions, they also received records of arrests and any pretrial proceedings that may have occurred.

Let's first discuss what will happen if you did not comply with submitting your fingerprints. Currently the State Bar still allows you to still turn in your fingerprints, however there are penalties assessed. On the other hand, by December 1st of this year if you have not submitted proof you were fingerprinted then your non-compliance will result in the involuntary suspension of your license, and you will be officially listed as “not eligible to practice” law.

It is important to realize that although the State Bar has our records, the fact that you have not been contacted regarding any past convictions does not mean that no action will be taken.

Technically the State Bar is still collecting the data/prints and will continue to do so until December 1st of this year.

The State Bar has already expressed that this process may take a long time. Common sense suggests that not only do they need to collect all prints, but then need to cross reference those prints to see if any convictions are unreported; then if unreported, they would need to make the necessary requests to get pertinent court records.

Even after all that is done, I can see the Office of Chief Trial Counsel (the investigative arm of the State Bar) prioritizing what cases they feel are more severe and possibly attempt to adjudicate those cases first. This could mean that a less severe conviction could not even be started until mid to late 2020.

Long story short, I am not aware of any notices being sent out based on the State Bar receiving these records yet, even though they have received thousands of records of convictions they were previously unaware of.

Depending on the age of the conviction, some records might not be available so there may be a possibility of the Bar not moving forward on those.

About the Author

Anthony Radogna

Anthony Radogna worked for over 5 years as an Investigator for the State Bar of Californias Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC), investigating a wide-range of ethical complaints brought against attorneys. In addition, he served on specialized task force teams and has experience investigating...

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Representing clients throughout all of California (San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County)

Don't let the State Bar pressure you into accepting discipline without talking to me first. I have handled hundreds of investigations, don't make the mistake of representing yourself. (California State Bar Investigations, State Bar Defense Attorney)

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