Update: State Bar of California Fingerprinting Requirement

Jan 29, 2019 | Blog

California Rule of Court Rule 9.9.5 states that all active California lawyers must be refingerprinted by the State Bar of California no later than April 30, 2019. Failure to do so may result in changing your status to involuntarily inactive.

Currently, the State Bar of California fingerprinting requirement is in stage two of six. Stage two ends on January 30, 2019. Active California lawyers who’ve yet to comply with refingerprinting recently received a third reminder about the requirement.

Stage three officially begins on February 4, 2019. During this time, non-compliant lawyers will receive a final warning notice. They will have until April 30, 2019 to comply. Lawyers who are moved into stage four, which begins on May 1, 2019, will pay a small monetary penalty of $75. They will have three months, until July 31, 2019, to come into compliance and satisfy their penalty.

Stage five begins on August 1, 2019. Lawyers who haven’t completed the State Bar of California fingerprinting process at this time will be assessed a $100 penalty. They have until November 30, 2019 to finish the process and pay their fine. On November 1, 2019, the State Bar of California will provide a final warning notice to lawyers explaining that their status will be changed.

Stage six begins on December 1, 2019. On this date, the State Bar of California will change the status of lawyers who haven’t complied to involuntarily inactive.

To see this schedule as published by The State Bar of California, click here.

Why Is the State Bar of California Requiring Additional Fingerprinting?

The State Bar of California requires additional fingerprinting of active California lawyers to come into compliance with the California Department of Justice. According to the California bar, they were non-compliant with the requirement for quite some time. To comply with the California DOJ, they must refingerprint active lawyers because the State Bar and the DOJ did not retain the initial fingerprints.

Moving forward, the State Bar will not retain the new fingerprints. However, they will be maintained by the DOJ for the purpose of notifying the State Bar of criminal offenses of active lawyers.

What about Active California Lawyers Currently Not in California?

For active California lawyers who live out of state, there’s no need to travel back to California for fingerprinting. Instead, you may request a copy of the fingerprint card to have your fingerprints done in your home state and mail it in.

Active California lawyers who are out of the country serving in the military must still go through the State Bar of California fingerprinting process. This may be completed through the US Embassy or Consulate or through local law enforcement. You may also use an Out-of-Country Deadline Extension form. The form must be postmarked or emailed no later than April 30, 2019.