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Suit against State Bar of California spurs calls for new lawyer discipline model

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 12, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO >> The former executive director of the California organization charged with rooting out lawyers who cheat clients or botch cases says he was fired after reporting that disciplinary files were deliberately being removed to make its case backlog appear smaller.

The State Bar of California counters that Joseph Dunn, who is also a former state senator, was terminated after it received “serious, wide-ranging allegations” against him.

The internal warfare at the nation’s largest state bar is reviving criticism that its disciplinary system is weak and lets bad attorneys off the hook. 

Some say the episode shows a broken, dysfunctional institution that needs restructuring to properly police its more than 249,000 members.

“The state bar for the last generation has been a completely dysfunctional organization,” said Peter Keane, a former state bar vice president who teaches at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. “It seems to survive somehow, but ... it gets worse with each iteration.”

Read the whole story at Los Angeles Daily News

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