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Are license actions common?

Facing issues with your professional license can put your whole career in jeopardy. While you may try to adhere to all rules and avoid any potential issues, you may still worry that a license action could happen to you.

The State Bar of California explains actions against legal professional licenses occur because it needs to protect the public and ensure attorneys are following all laws. Every year, the State Bar conducts investigations and takes actions against licenses in the state.

Cases per year

In 2020, the State Bar started cases against about 17,500 people. The people facing investigation were licensed attorneys and individuals practicing law without a license. The organization had about 600 cases against people specifically for practicing law illegally. It also referred about 300 cases of unauthorized practice of law to law enforcement for criminal charges.

The State Bar identified over 800 victims. It also paid out about $11.75 million to these victims.

Of the cases, the State Bar recommended the suspension of 114 attorneys. It recommended the disbarment of 97 attorneys and filed disciplinary charges against 180 attorneys.

Cases by county

When breaking things down by county, it becomes clear the numbers may seem large, but it is due to the size of the state and not reflective of a serious license issue.

Of the five largest counties, Los Angeles County had the most disbarments at a total of three. San Diego and Orange counties had only one disbarment each in 2020, and Riverside and San Bernardino counties had no disbarments that year.

While license actions against you could happen, they are not something that happens a lot. The State Bar is fair in its dealings, and you have the right to defend yourself and avoid the most serious punishment.

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