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CA attorney discipline: What types of punishment can be ordered?

California has more actively practicing attorneys than any other state in the country. As can be clearly seen by any reader scanning even a few of our blog posts at the long-tenured Los Angeles legal malpractice law firm of Glickman & Glickman, some of those practitioners sometimes get into trouble.

That is, they get into professional – and sometimes legal – difficulties by shortchanging clients, who reasonably expect so secure competent assistance when they turn to a California attorney for help.

Unquestionably, clients should always get that. State bar authorities and licensing overseers demand a requisite level of ability and effort from all California lawyers in every matter they undertake.

Put another way: Infallibility is not expected, but routinely performing to an expected standard of due care and diligence is.

Some attorneys slip, and for reasons that state legal authorities are loath to excuse. When they do, they can expect to be called before bar hearing examiners to offer up a defense and sometimes face serious – even dire – consequences.

Formal disciplinary proceedings occur regularly in matters before the bar. One recent case reported in a California legal report spotlights punishment that included a temporary license suspension and conditional probationary period, coupled with a mandatory retesting on professional materials and various payment exactions. Other matters bring far weightier consequences, including permanent license suspension and even disbarment.

California clients suffering from attorney incompetence or even bad faith should note that they do not lack an avenue for redress. In some cases, they can obtain a meaningful money recovery and additional benefits by filing a malpractice lawsuit.

Proven malpractice attorneys who help injured clients hold lawyers accountable for substandard representation can provide further information.