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California high court reinforces state bar ethical regulations


California high court reinforces state bar ethical regulations

The California Supreme Court responded to complaints about the regulatory body's oversight by enacting a set of ethical guidelines for judges and State Bar of California officials.

A set of ethical rules for judges and State Bar of California officials were enacted by the California Supreme Court on Tuesday. This is the latest response to complaints regarding the regulatory body's supervision of disgraced attorney Tom Girardi.

Three amendments that strengthen the conflict of interest guidelines for state bar trustees and State Bar Court judges who preside over attorney discipline proceedings were accepted by the court. State bar trustees are required to immediately disqualify oneself from any positions in which they have a personal or financial interest.

Starting on December 1st, in addition to considering the applicants' financial and non-financial interests, the committee that selects candidates for the state bar's board of trustees must assess whether the candidate's “relationships with other attorneys” might affect their capacity to serve.

The state bar is under increased scrutiny for how it handled Girardi, a well-known national plaintiffs' attorney who is currently being charged with federal offenses in California and Illinois for allegedly stealing more than $18 million in client cash. This is the reason for the modifications.

Although Girardi was the target of 205 ethical complaints since 1982 and did not face any disciplinary action until he was disbarred in 2022, the state bar is responsible for overseeing attorneys.



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