Are State Bar investigations into attorney misconduct public or confidential?
State Bar investigations and inquiries are, by statute, confidential. The complaint becomes public when disciplinary charges are filed against an attorney in State Bar Court. By law, however, any other pending investigations involving the same lawyer must remain confidential at that point. If it is determined that public protection is seriously at stake in a particular case, the Chief Trial Counsel does have the authority to publicly reveal a pending investigation.
If criminal conduct is suspected, the State Bar may also refer the matter to a law enforcement agency for investigation and potential prosecution.