As an attorney in the state of California, one of your greatest assets is going to be the California State Bar website, along with its legal resources, news and search functions.

This website has an attorney search function which allows you to search for disciplinary records of colleagues or potential employers in lieu of reaching out to California’s licensing authority. You can input an attorneys’ name or bar number to gain insight into their current standing and any past transgressions.

Keep in mind that the California State Bar website is not limited to licensed attorneys. The general public also has access to this website and all of its operations. The California online directory enables anyone to use the attorney search option in order to provide an encompassing view of California attorneys’ disciplinary records and possible ethics violations.

This website is an invaluable tool that should be used for continuous reference. Throughout your career as a lawyer, you can use the State Bar website to brush up on pertinent information such as Rules and Statutes on Attorney Conduct, annual State Bar fees, and even current legal news. Familiarizing yourself with this website is key, so ListaLegal is providing you with this brief guide to the California State Bar website.

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What Is the California State Bar Attorney Search?

The California State Bar has an attorney search option which allows both the public and law offices to check the history of attorneys. It can help potential clients or lawyers determine whether or not they want to continue working with the lawyer they have been in contact with. The California State Bar keeps this online directory in order to help the public analyze need-to-know information about attorneys. This includes detailed data such as whether their law license is active and in good standing. It also enables researchers to see if certain clients have a history of misconduct or disbarment.

The attorney search bar can be found instantly on the California State Bar website on the left-hand side of a desktop screen. You will need the attorney’s name or bar number in order to look up their record. This search function is not mean to be used as a referral source, though the website does offer lawyer referral services for consumers.

Functions of the California State Bar Attorney Search:

  • Search for active lawyers
  • Search for lawyers in Good Standing
  • Check for inactive licenses. Reasons will be listed and may be attributed to: not paying dues, retirement, or lawyer is deceased.
  • Check individual lawyer disciplines or misconduct (i.e. a lawyer has been suspended or disbarred)
  • Search for lawyers based on region and practice
  • Browse the List of Disbarred Attorneys

These functions are made available in order to regulate who is practicing law in California and whether or not they are in good standing. It acts as an additive measure to help protect and inform consumers.

How to Search for an Attorney by Practice Area

If you are trying to use the attorney search in order to find someone in a specialty practice, there are some additional features that make this process easy.

When you are on the main page of the State Bar of California website, the attorney search option will be on the Home page. If you are looking for a specialty attorney, you can simply click the search icon without typing in the attorney name or bar number.

From here, you will notice the Advanced Search feature. At the bottom, you will find the cert. Legal Specialty drop-down menu which lists everything from Maritime Law to Elder Law. Once you select the specialty, a collective list will be made available with the attorney’s Status, Number, City, and Admission Date.

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How to Find an Attorney’s Disciplinary Record Online

One aspect that’s important to consider when working with an attorney is if they have a disciplinary record. The California State Bar has all of these records available to attorneys and consumers alike. Because disciplinary acts can have an impact on your current case, you will want to know how to find these records on the State Bar website.

Disciplinary records are integrated as a part of an attorney’s profile. Along with their standing, you can see if or why a specific attorney is inactive. If there are transgressions on an attorney’s profile, you obtain see public dockets with just their name and their case number. The docket will have thorough information about their disciplinary records, such as the index of court proceedings or events as well as court documents.

You can find an attorney’s disciplinary record through the Disciplinary Record Search. All filed or closed cases have been made available online as of February 2019. All open cases are being digitally filed on the California State Bar website as they occur.

Each disciplinary record should indicate the cause of the misconduct and if the matter has been resolved. If you cannot find an attorney’s records or if you want a full list of disbarred attorneys in the state of California, you will need to submit a Certified Public Records of Discipline request form. A fee of $25 is required by the State Bar Court for these records. The written request of these documents and the fee must be mailed to the physical location of the office.

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Why Does the Public Use the State Bar Directories?

The public is free to utilize the California State Bar website without restriction. The most common reason a consumer will use this site is to find an attorney or to file a complaint against an attorney.

They can also use the public attorney search bar in order to determine whether or not they want to work with a professional. Instant access to these profiles will include a general description of their License Status, any Discipline, and Administrative Action taken against a particular attorney. Making these databases public helps to make legal jurisdictions maintain an open-door policy, which allows effective and vital communication.

Here are a few more reasons why the California State Bar website is beneficial to the public:

  • They can find attorney contact information.
  • They can find out an attorneys’ past record.
  • They can check an attorney’s authorization in law practices.
  • They can see if an attorney is in good standing or otherwise.
  • They can find a lawyer based on geographical location.
  • They can find a lawyer based on specialties such as personal injury or criminal law.
  • They can search for free or disaster-related legal help.
  • Submit a Public Records Request

The California State Bar website also hosts a bevy of educational materials, such as information on California attorney ethics codes, lawyer referral services, and immigration legal resources.