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Revisiting the new California State Bar fingerprinting duty

Active California legal practitioners might collectively be lamenting the recently imposed duty upon them to submit to fingerprinting by the end of next April. We noted in a recent Glickman & Glickman blog post that the new onus has resulted in the State Bar of California being “flooded with thousands of negative comments from lawyers.”

That is both understandable and unsurprising. Most of the state’s approximately 190,000 practicing attorneys are ethical, competent in their advocacy and busy throughout their working days. Many of them begrudge the requirement to visit a police station to comply with an or-else mandate.

Some of them are criminals, though. In fact, bar officials’ belief that many thousands of them have unreported criminal convictions is what led to the fingerprinting exaction. State authorities want to know what might be materially important to note about every lawyer in the state who has been convicted of unlawful behavior.

Given that obvious need for information, the public certainly doesn’t begrudge the exaction placed upon their potential and/or actual legal counsel. In fact, California consumers have strong reasons to be thankful for the new requirement. We stress in the above-cited April 27 blog entry that “individuals and families across California absolutely depend upon their legal counsel’s integrity and ethical behavior.”

A recent legal article spotlights the bar’s recently increased efforts to identify attorneys with unreported criminal backgrounds and take disciplinary action against them.

Although that might well spell some inconvenience for the attorney population, it is action that is welcomed as a protective measure by the general public.