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How is the California fingerprinting process going for attorneys?

Getting approximately 190,000 active California attorneys to duly comply with a re-fingerprinting requirement has proven to be a bit of a problem.

In fact, the process readily conjures up the maxim, “Easier said than done,” with thousands of practitioners reportedly still being tardy in their response.

As we noted in a post earlier this year, that response is legally mandated. The duty has existed for decades, although regulators have been lax with their oversight and enforcement in recent years. We spotlighted in our April 9 blog entry 2017 legislation reemphasizing the duty, noting additionally therein that legions of lawyers had not yet recently complied with it.

Although steady progress has been made, that is still reportedly the case in the wake of the statutorily imposed May 1 deadline. An article updating attorney re-fingerprinting compliance states that close to 5,000 active California lawyers were still out of compliance as of the May 1 deadline. And late printing has resulted in thousands of other submissions still awaiting processing.

That concerns the State Bar of California and the state’s Supreme Court.

And understandably so, given that the process has reportedly “generated thousands of criminal records” that must be examined and potentially acted upon. An initial tally taken after the first deadline (August 1 and December 1deadlines still await; noncompliance by the latter date will yield a license suspension) notably turned up 2,659 previously unreported misdemeanors. Even more concerning to regulators were 40 felony reports.

Those numbers will likely be added to significantly before the process ends. The California State Bar Court will ultimately determine which practicing lawyers in the state will be subjected to disciplinary action.

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