Serving The Needs Of California Attorneys For More Than 23 Years

Is it ever smart to represent yourself before the State Bar?

Regardless of where you are in your career, you have invested a substantial amount of money, time and effort into your legal practice. If an ethical misstep has put your license in jeopardy, you may be vulnerable to a variety of consequences. These include the loss of your livelihood and social stigma.

For many attorneys, disbarment and other sanctions are not open-and-shut matters. If you have a compelling case for keeping your license or avoiding discipline, you may want to save some money by representing yourself before the State Bar of California. Going pro se, though, is rarely smart.

A lack of objectivity

Even if you feel passionate about your clients and their legal arguments, you can look at legal matters impartially. Much of this objectivity comes from the lack of personal consequences you face. In your disciplinary action, though, your capacity to work as a lawyer may be on the line. Therefore, you simply may not have the ability either to look at facts objectively or to make hard decisions.

Blurred lines

In criminal cases, judges and juries often have difficulty discerning when the pro se litigant stops being a defendant and starts being an attorney. This, of course, can be problematic when testifying under oath and making legal arguments. The same is true for attorneys who are facing discipline from the State Bar. To avoid blurring lines and unnecessarily complicating matters, it may be advisable to have someone speak on your behalf.

You would probably never advise clients to represent themselves in legal matters where much is at stake. Ultimately, if you fail to take your own advice and instead represent yourself, you may jeopardize your chances of retaining your license to practice law.

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