State Bar of California

Capitol Alert
By Dan Walters
November 18, 2016 – 10:30 AM

Reacting to a legislative stalemate over the State Bar’s future, the California Supreme Court late Thursday authorized the legal profession’s regulatory agency to collect $297 in dues from each state-licensed attorney next year – enough to cover its basic functions but less than it wanted.

The Legislature adjourned in August without approving the annual bill to authorize collection of attorney dues to finance the agency, despite intensive negotiations that focused on whether the State Bar should continue as both a regulatory body and a legal profession trade association.

Critics say it has neglected the former, particularly weeding out bad lawyers, as it concentrates on the latter, citing a series of financial irregularities. The State Bar has overhauled its administration and undertaken a series of reforms it says should satisfy the critics.

The Assembly passed a bill with reforms that included possibly eliminating the Bar’s trade association functions. The bill was blocked by senators who said it went too far. The Senate’s position had the support of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

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