California Says You Must Understand E-Discovery in Order to Litigate

This post was written by Megan Zavieh and originally published on on July 22, 2015. California’s proposed ethics opinion on attorney duties in e-discovery has been finalized. The opinion is unsurprising in terms of its analysis of today’s technology and long-standing ethics rules, and it highlights that in today’s world, discovery is extremely complex and high[…]

Responding to an Ethics Complaint: A How-To Guide

This post was written by Megan Zavieh and originally published on on March 4, 2013. Bar complaint statistics have been updated to reflect the summary report provided by the California State Bar for 2018.   Every year, ethics boards receive thousands of complaints. The California State Bar alone received almost 16,000 in 2018, a number that[…]

The Attorney Client Relationship in California: Calling It Quits

We’ve talked before about the importance of maintaining a good attorney client relationship as well as when you, as a California lawyer, should attempt to repair a damaged relationship. Yet, there’s still an important concept related to the attorney client relationship in California: calling it quits. Can you just decide to stop representing your client?[…]

Facing Disbarment in California? Tips from

Disbarment is the most serious consequence of a legal ethics investigation. If you’re facing disbarment in California, you should visit the State Bar Playbook website to access an interactive guide that walks you through the process from the investigative stage all the way through the appeals process. You’ll also find examples of responses, court filings,[…]

Why and How to Rectify Broken Client Relationships

At some point, every lawyer will have a disgruntled client.  Maybe their expectations could never be met.  Maybe they simply didn’t understand the process or what could reasonably be anticipated.  Maybe the lawyer failed to communicate or even to perform.  Whatever the reason, eventually, a client is going to be upset. The question becomes, what is[…]

Ethics Complaint from the California Bar? Read This Before You Respond

If you’ve received an ethics complaint from the California Bar, take heart. You’re certainly not alone. The California Bar releases an annual discipline report generally in April of each year. On the day this post was written, the most recent annual discipline report was released on April 30, 2017 and covered 2016. During 2016, the[…]

Does Practice Experience Matter with Attorney Discipline?

When it comes to attorney discipline, both seasoned and newly licensed attorneys are at risk. One of the most commonly asked questions related to ethics investigations is: does practice experience matter with attorney discipline? Although every state bar considered aggravating circumstances and mitigating factors, not every state will take the practice experience into consideration. The[…]

Steps to Take If You Receive a Letter from the State Bar Questioning Your Professional Conduct

Few things are scary in professional life than receiving a letter form the state bar that questions your professional conduct. It’s important to note that these letters don’t always come about because of an ethics complaint made against you by a current or former client. Sometimes, these state bar letters are triggered because a lawyer[…]

Can an Engagement Letter Protect a Lawyer From an Ethical Complaint?

Ethical complaints against lawyers are extremely serious matters. Could something as small and easy as creating and sending an engagement letter protect a lawyer from an ethical complaint? In some instances, yes. While there is no one tool or strategy that can protect an attorney from a potential ethical complaint, protection is often found in[…]

Protecting Your Law Practice: The Art of the Non-Engagement Letter

Your bottom line revolves around your ability to assess cases and to convince potential clients to hire you. Yet, with the practice of law there is the inherent risk of ethical complaints being filed against you. How can you protect your law practice from complaints if you inform someone that you do not plan to[…]