How The State Bar Works

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Most commonly, a client or former client will make allegations of attorney misconduct to the State Bar because they didn't get what they wanted or as much as they wanted. However, anyone can make these allegations; clients, former clients, opposing parties, opposing counsel, prior counsel, successor counsel and of course, judges. There is simply no standing requirement. Rule of Procedure 51(a) of the State Bar governs the statute of limitations in attorney discipline matters and provides: "A disciplinary proceeding based solely on a complainant's allegation of a violation of the State Bar Act or Rules of Professional Conduct shall be initiated within five years from the date of the alleged violation."
However, there are many exceptions to this five-year statute of limitations. The State Bar operates a toll free hotline and has forms available for download on its website to assist those with both legitimate and improper motives.