Suspension from the California Bar Association is a major employment blow but it doesn’t have to be a career killer. Suspension is, by definition, temporary and there is a way back into the good graces of regular membership.

You have already practiced law in the past so you should be able to represent yourself, right?

It is a common mistake of those who face discipline or re-admittance.

What would you tell your own clients?

Don’t seek a general practice attorney. Seek an expert in the field.

There are two primary elements to restoring honor to your name and job title with the state bar, and they begin and end with your personal character.

Determination of moral character

Admittance to the bar, whether on your first pass after law school or via reinstatement later, hinges on your background. You will be thoroughly vetted and indiscretions will be discussed.

Honesty is encouraged. Items that weren’t disclosed firsthand will come across as something you are trying to hide. The bar’s subcommittee doesn’t schedule interviews to focus on the past, they focus on what the past means for tomorrow.

Rehabilitation

Method of disclosure and rehabilitation matters, as shown in the membership cases of Garcia and Glass detailed by the Orange County Bar Association. A 2013 article in The Daily Journal discusses the then-pending case of Glass and predicts his rejection based, based largely on Glass’s acts, which expressed remorse but not change.

An expert’s help

Discipline and character issues are crucial standards in the state bar of California, and they are abstract concepts that are difficult to define. Nobody knows the process better than an attorney who sat on the panel, who understands the complicated thought process used to factor not if you have learned your lesson, but if you have actually changed. There are many attorneys in the state with practical knowledge in the courtroom, but when the hearings take place with a special committee, you need specialized help.

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