PLEASE NOTE: Publication for public comment is not, and shall not be, construed as a recommendation or approval by the Board of Trustees of the materials published.
Re-release of the Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct (“Standards”) for an additional 30-day public comment period
The Standards for Attorney Sanctions for Professional Misconduct (“Standards”) were adopted by the State Bar’s Board of Trustees (“Board”), effective Jan. 1, 1986, to provide a means for determining the appropriate disciplinary sanction in a particular case and to ensure consistency across cases dealing with similar misconduct and surrounding circumstances. The Standards were in place for nearly three decades without any major modifications. However, in 2013, after a modest “clean-up” of the Standards (which included mainly technical and stylistic revisions), the Board appointed a Discipline Standards Task Force (“Task Force”), to evaluate whether substantive modifications, if any, needed to be made to the Standards.
The Task Force, chaired by Karen Goodman, began its work on May 12, 2014, and broke into three working groups: Working Group I (Standards Model Comparisons, chaired by Carol Langford), Working Group II (Levels of Discipline, chaired by Ellen Peck), and Working Group III (Aggravation and Mitigation, chaired by Judith Sklar). These working groups met and made recommendations to the full Task Force. The Task Force received and approved those recommendations at its October 2014 meeting, and voted to refer them to the Regulation and Discipline Committee (“RAD”). At its November 2014 meeting, RAD authorized the release of the proposed recommendations for a 45-day public comment period. The Task Force sunsetted in late 2014.
During the comment period, several comments were received. At the request of the Board President, in consultation with the Chair of RAD, the former Chair of the Task Force and the Chairs of the Working Groups (collectively, the “Chairs”) reviewed the comments and provided RAD with an advisory recommendation, suggesting a few additional changes to the Standards.
At its March 12, 2015 meeting, RAD authorized a re-release of the Standards for an additional 30-day public comment period.
The agenda item and attachments linked below describe the proposed recommendations in detail. In Attachment B of the materials, the original Task Force recommendations appear in red and the chairs’ additional recommendations appear in purple.
Regulation and Discipline Committee
April 16, 2015
Office of General Counsel
The State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105