Public records maintained by the State Bar of California are available for copy or inspection by members of the public pursuant to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). (Gov. Code §§ 7920.00 et seq.)
The following guidelines ensure that members of the public fully understand and can exercise their right to inspect and obtain copies of public records maintained by the State Bar.
Requests may be made by email, mail, telephone, or in person at the State Bar offices. The State Bar encourages requestors to submit a Public Records Act Request Form and email it to PRA@calbar.ca.gov or mail it to:
The State Bar of California ATTN: Public Records Request 845 S. Figueroa St., 5th Floor Los Angeles, CA 90017
Submitting the written form helps focus the request, avoids miscommunication, and ensures that the requestor receives a response as soon as possible.
Providing the following information will help facilitate prompt and thorough response from the State Bar:
If a requestor needs assistance in formulating a request, please call 213-765-1240 or email PRA@calbar.ca.gov.
The State Bar has 10 days from the date a CPRA request is received to respond to the request. This response will typically inform the requestor whether the State Bar has responsive public records, when the records will be available for inspection or copying, the anticipated cost of providing copies, and whether any exemptions apply. Under certain circumstances, the State Bar may write to the requestor and invoke a 14-day extension.
The State Bar charges 10 cents per page for copies of public records. The first 10 pages will be provided at no cost. The State Bar can also charge for the cost of postage, certification of documents, data extraction to produce the record and other applicable fees. Records will be provided following receipt of payment.
Certain State Bar public records can be easily accessed through the following links:
Requestors should be aware that several categories of State Bar records are exempt from disclosure under Senate Bill 387, including the following:
Proof of an attorney's or firm's malpractice insuranceThe State Bar does not collect insurance information so it cannot provide records of insurance. However, attorneys are required to disclose to clients in most instances if they do NOT carry malpractice insurance. Please see Rule 1.4.2 of the California Rules of Professional Conduct for details of when and how this applies.
Copies of wills, trusts, and estatesGenerally, the State Bar does not hold these documents. We recommend contacting the Superior Court, Probate Department, of the county where the will, trust, or estate was located.
Attorneys who retire or sell their practices must ensure that client files are returned or transferred. Retired attorneys are still listed on the State Bar website, so you can use the search to locate contact information.
In very limited circumstances, the State Bar may be able to help you locate copies of wills, trusts, or estate documents. If your attorney passed away, the executor of the estate had the responsibility to return client records. In some circumstances, the role of unwinding a deceased attorney's practice may have fallen to the State Bar, in which case we may hold client records or be able to locate their current caretaker.
Criminal and civil case proceedingsWe recommend contacting the court that originally heard the case for records.
Effective Jan. 1, 2018, access to records maintained by the State Bar Court, including copies of records of public discipline, is no longer governed by the California Public Records Act. (See Bus. & Prof. Code § 6086.5.) To request State Bar Court records, follow the instructions on the State Bar Court website.