Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 3. PROFESSIONS AND VOCATIONS GENERALLY [5000 - 9998.11]

  ( Heading of Division 3 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 30. )

CHAPTER 4. Attorneys [6000 - 6243]

  ( Chapter 4 added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 34. )

ARTICLE 3. Investigations, Examining Committee, Subpoenas, and Other Proceedings [6043.5 - 6054]
  ( Heading of Article 3 amended (as added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 34) by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 27. )

6043.5.
  

(a) Every person who reports to the State Bar or causes a complaint to be filed with the State Bar that an attorney has engaged in professional misconduct, knowing the report or complaint to be false and malicious, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) The State Bar may, in its discretion, notify the appropriate district attorney or city attorney that a person has filed what the State Bar believes to be a false and malicious report or complaint against an attorney and recommend prosecution of the person under subdivision (a).

(Added by Stats. 1990, Ch. 1639, Sec. 2.)

6044.
  

The chief trial counsel, with or without the filing or presentation of any complaint, may initiate and conduct investigations of all matters affecting or relating to:

(a) The discipline of the licensees of the State Bar.

(b) The acts or practices of a person whom the chief trial counsel has reason to believe has violated or is about to violate any provision of Articles 7 (commencing with Section 6125) and 9 (commencing with Section 6150) of this chapter.

(c) Any other matter within the jurisdiction of the State Bar.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 32. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6044.5.
  

(a) When an investigation or formal proceeding concerns alleged misconduct which may subject a licensee to criminal prosecution for any felony, or any lesser crime committed during the course of the practice of law, or in any manner that the client of the licensee was a victim, or may subject the licensee to disciplinary charges in another jurisdiction, the State Bar shall disclose, in confidence, information not otherwise public under this chapter to the appropriate agency responsible for criminal or disciplinary enforcement or exchange that information with that agency.

(b) The Chief Trial Counsel or designee may disclose, in confidence, information not otherwise public under this chapter as follows:

(1) To government agencies responsible for enforcement of civil and criminal laws or for professional licensing of individuals.

(2) To members of the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission or a review committee thereof as to matters concerning nominees in any jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 33. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6046.
  

The board may establish an examining committee having the power:

(a) To examine all applicants for admission to practice law.

(b) To administer the requirements for admission to practice law.

(c) To certify to the Supreme Court for admission those applicants who fulfill the requirements provided in this chapter.

The examining committee shall be comprised of 19 members, 10 of whom shall be licensees of the State Bar or judges of courts of record in this state and nine of whom shall be public members who have never been licensees of the State Bar or admitted to practice before any court in the United States. At least one of the attorney members shall have been admitted to practice law in this state within three years from the date of the member’s appointment to the examining committee.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 35. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6046.5.
  

Three of the public members of the examining committee shall be appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, three of the public members shall be appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly, and three of the public members shall be appointed by the Governor. They shall serve for a term of four years, except that of the initial public members so appointed, two shall serve for two years and four shall serve for four years, as shall be determined by lot. The public members appointed pursuant to the amendment of this section during the 1987–88 Regular Session of the Legislature shall serve for four years. The public members shall have the same rights, powers, and privileges as any attorney member except that such a member shall not participate in the drafting of questions submitted to applicants on the California bar examination.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 36. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6046.6.
  

(a) The examining committee shall not alter the bar examination in a manner that requires the substantial modification of the training or preparation required for passage of the examination, except after giving two years’ notice of that change. This requirement does not apply to a change in the bar examination that is applicable only at the option of the applicant.

(b) The examining committee shall communicate and cooperate with the Law School Council.

(c) Scaling may be used on the bar examination for the purpose of maintaining an examination of uniform difficulty from year to year.

(Amended by Stats. 1996, Ch. 866, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1997.)

6046.7.
  

(a) (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Committee of Bar Examiners shall adopt rules that shall be effective on and after January 1, 2008, for the regulation and oversight of unaccredited law schools that are required to be authorized to operate as a business in California and to have an administrative office in California, including correspondence schools, that are not accredited by the American Bar Association or the Committee of Bar Examiners, with the goal of ensuring consumer protection and a legal education at an affordable cost.

(2) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the committee shall adopt rules that shall be effective on and after January 1, 2008, for the regulation and oversight of nonlaw school legal programs leading to a juris doctor (J.D.) degree, bachelor of laws (LL.B.) degree, or other law study degree.

(b) Commencing January 1, 2008, the committee shall assess and collect a fee from unaccredited law schools and legal programs in nonlaw schools in an amount sufficient to fund the regulatory and oversight responsibilities imposed by this section. Nothing in this subdivision precludes the board of trustees from using other funds or fees collected by the State Bar or by the committee to supplement the funding of the regulatory and oversight responsibilities imposed by this section with other funds, if that supplemental funding is deemed necessary and appropriate to mitigate some of the additional costs of the regulation and oversight to facilitate the provision of a legal education at an affordable cost.

(Amended by Stats. 2011, Ch. 417, Sec. 34. (SB 163) Effective January 1, 2012.)

6046.8.
  

At least once every seven years, or more frequently if directed by the Supreme Court, the board of trustees shall oversee an evaluation of the bar examination to determine if it properly tests for minimally needed competence for entry-level attorneys and shall make a determination, supported by findings, whether to adjust the examination or the passing score based on the evaluation. The board of trustees shall report the results of the evaluation and any determination regarding adjustment in the passing score to the Supreme Court and the Legislature no later than March 15, 2018, and at least every seven years from the date of the previous report.

(Added by Stats. 2017, Ch. 422, Sec. 22. (SB 36) Effective January 1, 2018.)

6047.
  

Subject to the approval of the board, the examining committee may adopt such reasonable rules and regulations as may be necessary or advisable for the purpose of making effective the qualifications prescribed in Article 4.

(Added by Stats. 1939, Ch. 34.)

6049.
  

(a) Upon the trial and hearing of all matters, the State Bar Court may do all of the following:

(1) Take and hear evidence pertaining to the proceeding.

(2) Administer oaths and affirmations.

(3) Compel, by subpoena, the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and documents pertaining to the proceeding.

(b) In the conduct of investigations, the chief trial counsel or his or her designee, may compel, by subpoena, the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and documents pertaining to the investigation.

(c) In the conduct of all formal proceedings, each party may compel, by subpoena, the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, and documents pertaining to the proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 38. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6049.1.
  

(a) In any disciplinary proceeding under this chapter, a certified copy of a final order made by any court of record or any body authorized by law or by rule of court to conduct disciplinary proceedings against attorneys, of the United States or of any state or territory of the United States or of the District of Columbia, determining that a licensee of the State Bar committed professional misconduct in such other jurisdiction shall be conclusive evidence that the licensee is culpable of professional misconduct in this state, subject only to the exceptions set forth in subdivision (b).

(b) The board may provide by rule for procedures for the conduct of an expedited disciplinary proceeding against a licensee of the State Bar upon receipt by the State Bar of a certified copy of a final order determining that the licensee has been found culpable of professional misconduct in a proceeding in another jurisdiction conducted as specified in subdivision (a). The issues in the expedited proceeding shall be limited to the following:

(1) The degree of discipline to impose.

(2) Whether, as a matter of law, the licensee’s culpability determined in the proceeding in the other jurisdiction would not warrant the imposition of discipline in the State of California under the laws or rules binding upon licensees of the State Bar at the time the licensee committed misconduct in such other jurisdiction, as determined by the proceedings specified in subdivision (a).

(3) Whether the proceedings of the other jurisdiction lacked fundamental constitutional protection.

The licensee of the State Bar subject to the proceeding under this section shall bear the burden of establishing that the issues in paragraphs (2) and (3) do not warrant the imposition of discipline in this state.

(c) In proceedings conducted under subdivision (b), the parties need not be afforded an opportunity for discovery unless the State Bar Court department or panel having jurisdiction so orders upon a showing of good cause.

(d) In any proceedings conducted under this chapter, a duly certified copy of any portion of the record of disciplinary proceedings of another jurisdiction conducted as specified in subdivision (a) may be received in evidence.

(e) This section shall not prohibit the institution of proceedings under Section 6044, 6101, or 6102, as may be appropriate, concerning any licensee of the State Bar based upon the licensee’s conduct in another jurisdiction, whether or not licensed as an attorney in the other jurisdiction.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 39. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6049.2.
  

In all disciplinary proceedings pursuant to this chapter, the testimony of a witness given in a contested civil action or special proceeding to which the person complained against is a party, or in whose behalf the action or proceeding is prosecuted or defended, may be received in evidence, so far as relevant and material to the issues in the disciplinary proceedings, by means of a duly authenticated transcript of such testimony and without proof of the nonavailability of the witness; provided, the State Bar Court may order the production of and testimony by such witness, in lieu of or in addition to receiving a transcript of his or her testimony and may decline to receive in evidence any such transcript of testimony, in whole or in part, when it appears that the testimony was given under circumstances that did not require or allow an opportunity for full cross examination.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 40. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6050.
  

Whenever any person subpoenaed to appear and give testimony or to produce books, papers or documents refuses to appear or testify before the subpoenaing body, or to answer any pertinent or proper questions, or to produce such books, papers or documents, he or she is in contempt of the subpoenaing body.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 453, Sec. 7.)

6051.
  

The State Bar Court or the chief trial counsel may report the fact that a person under subpoena is in contempt of the subpoenaing body to the superior court in and for the county in which the proceeding, investigation or other matter is being conducted and thereupon the court may issue an attachment in the form usual in the superior court, directed to the sheriff of the county, commanding the sheriff to attach the person and immediately bring him or her before the court.

On the return of the attachment, and the production of the person attached, the superior court has jurisdiction of the matter, and the person charged may purge himself or herself of the contempt in the same way, and the same proceedings shall be had, and the same penalties may be imposed, and the same punishment inflicted, as in the case of a witness subpoenaed to appear and give evidence on the trial of a civil cause before a superior court.

In lieu of the procedure specified above, the court may enter an order directing the person alleged to be in contempt to appear before the court at a specified time and place and then and there show cause why he or she has not attended or testified or produced the writings as required. A copy of the order shall be served upon that person. If it appears to the court that the subpoena was regularly issued and no good cause is shown for the refusal to appear or testify or produce the writings, the court shall enter an order that the person appear, testify, or produce writings, as the case may be. Upon failure to obey the order, the person shall be dealt with as for contempt of court.

A proceeding pursuant to this section shall be entitled “In the Matter of (state name), Alleged Contemnor re State Bar (proceeding, investigation or matter) No. (insert number).”

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 41. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6051.1.
  

A motion to quash a subpoena issued pursuant to Section 6049 shall be brought in the State Bar Court.

(Added by Stats. 1985, Ch. 453, Sec. 9.)

6052.
  

Any member of the board, or of any committee or unit or section thereof, having jurisdiction, or the chief trial counsel or his or her designee may administer oaths and issue any subpoena pursuant to Section 6049.

Depositions may be taken and used as provided in the rules of procedure adopted by the board pursuant to this chapter.

(Amended by Stats. 1985, Ch. 453, Sec. 10.)

6053.
  

Whenever in an investigation or proceeding provided for or authorized by this chapter, the mental or physical condition of the licensee of the State Bar is a material issue, the board or the committee having jurisdiction may order the licensee to be examined by one or more physicians or psychiatrists designated by it. The reports of such persons shall be made available to the licensee and the State Bar and may be received in evidence in such investigation or proceeding.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 42. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

6054.
  

(a) State and local law enforcement and licensing bodies and departments, officers and employees thereof, and officials and attachés of the courts of this state shall cooperate with and give reasonable assistance and information, including the providing of state summary criminal history information and local summary criminal history information, to the State Bar of California or any authorized representative thereof, in connection with any investigation or proceeding within the jurisdiction of the State Bar of California, regarding the admission to the practice of law or discipline of attorneys or their reinstatement to the practice of law.

(b) The State Bar of California shall require that an applicant for admission or reinstatement to the practice of law in California, or may require a licensee to submit or resubmit fingerprints to the Department of Justice in order to establish the identity of the applicant and in order to determine whether the applicant or licensee has a record of criminal conviction in this state or in other states. The information obtained as a result of the fingerprinting of an applicant or licensee shall be limited to the official use of the State Bar in establishing the identity of the applicant and in determining the character and fitness of the applicant for admission or reinstatement, and in discovering prior and subsequent criminal arrests of an applicant, licensee, or applicant for reinstatement. The State Bar shall notify the Department of Justice about individuals who are no longer licensees and applicants who are denied admission to the State Bar within 30 days of any change in status of a licensee or denial of admission. All fingerprint records of applicants admitted or licensees reinstated, or provided by a licensee, shall be retained thereafter by the Department of Justice for the limited purpose of criminal arrest notification to the State Bar.

(c) The State Bar shall request from the Department of Justice subsequent arrest notification service, as provided pursuant to Section 11105.2 of the Penal Code, for applicants to, and licensees of, the State Bar.

(d) If required to be fingerprinted pursuant to this section, a licensee of the State Bar who fails to be fingerprinted may be enrolled as an inactive licensee pursuant to rules adopted by the board of trustees.

(e) The State Bar shall report to the Supreme Court and the Legislature by March 15, 2018, regarding its compliance with the requirements of this section.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 659, Sec. 43. (AB 3249) Effective January 1, 2019.)

BPCBusiness and Professions Code - BPC3