The State Bar seeks public comment regarding a proposed California Supreme Court rule implementing a fingerprinting requirement for licensed attorneys pursuant to the recent amendments to Business and Professions Code section 6054, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Deadline: 5 p.m. March 3, 2018
The State Bar circulated a proposed rule for public comment from Nov. 9, 2017 through Dec. 26, 2017. Over 2,600 public comments were received.
The State Bar has amended the proposed rule and is circulating the amended proposal for a 30-day public comment period.
On Nov. 3, 2017, the Board of Trustees authorized a 45-day public comment period for a proposed California Supreme Court rule implementing a fingerprinting requirement for active licensed attorneys pursuant to recent amendments to Bus. & Prof. Code § 6054, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Over 2,600 public comments were received. The full text of the public comments is available online.
For an in-depth discussion of the public comments and the State Bar’s responses, please refer to the Board of Trustees’ Jan. 27 meeting agenda item and attachments.
Upon review of the public comments, as well as further internal analysis, staff made changes to the proposed rule. The proposed changes to the rule do not impact the purpose of the rule, which is to require licensed attorneys to be fingerprinted and to pay the fingerprint processing and furnishing costs in connection therewith.
On Jan. 27, 2018, the Board of Trustees approved staff’s recommendation to authorize an additional 30-day public comment period for a proposed court rule to implement a fingerprinting requirement for licensed attorneys.
The Board of Trustees also delegated authority to staff to add language requiring re-fingerprinting for certain attorneys admitted to practice law in California pursuant to California Rule of Court Rule 9.44 (registered foreign legal consultant); Rule 9.45 (registered legal services attorney) and Rule 9.46 (registered in-house counsel). Attorneys admitted pursuant to these Rules must pass a State Bar moral character determination and either agree to abide by all of the laws and rules that govern attorneys of the State Bar (Rules 9.45-9.46) or agree to be subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the State Bar (Rule 9.44).
Following the public comment period, the amended proposed rule and any comments received will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees during its March 8-9, 2018 meeting. Upon recommendation from the Board of Trustees, the proposed rule would then be forwarded to the California Supreme Court.
The Proposed Rule states:
1. Licensed Attorney Fingerprinting
2. Implementation Schedule
The Board of Trustees of the State Bar must develop a schedule for implementation that requires all attorneys required to be fingerprinted under section 1(b) to be fingerprinted by December 1, 2019.
The State Bar has ongoing authority to require re-fingerprinting after December 1, 2019 for attorneys for whom it is not receiving subsequent arrest notification services and for attorneys transferring to inactive status. Failure to be re-fingerprinted if required may result in involuntary inactive enrollment pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6054(d).
The State Bar has authority to require re-fingerprinting after December 1, 2019, for attorneys permitted to practice in the State of California pursuant to California Rule of Court Rules 9.44, 9.44, and 9.46 for whom it is not receiving subsequent arrest notification services. Failure to be re-fingerprinted if required may result in a State Bar determination that the attorney cease providing legal services in California.
3. Information Obtained by Subsequent Arrest Notification; Limitations on Disclosure
Any information obtained by the State Bar through the Subsequent Arrest Notification System shall be confidential and shall be used solely for State Bar licensing and regulatory purposes.
4. Fingerprint Submission and Processing Costs
Except as described in 4(a), all costs of providing criminal history information to and the processing of fingerprints for, the State Bar, including print furnishing and encoding, as required by section 6054, shall be borne by the licensed attorney.
5. Attorneys Who are Physically Unable to be Fingerprinted
See Attachment A: Jan. 28, 2017 Board of Trustees Agenda Item, Number 704