THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA845 SOUTH FIGUEROA STREET LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90017-2515OFFICE OF CHIEF TRIAL COUNSELINTAKETELEPHONE: (213) 765-1000FAX: (213) 765-1168http://www.calbar.ca.govDear Sir or Madam:In order to help us evaluate and process your complaint, please complete the CaliforniaAttorney Complaint Form. The Attorney Complaint Form is available in the “Quick Links”section of the State Bar’s website at www.calbar.ca.gov or by going aspx. You may fill out the AttorneyComplaint Form online prior to printing and mailing it to the State Bar’s Intake Department.(If you can’t fill out the form online, download and print it before filling it out by hand.)You may also use the State Bar’s “Attorney Search” tool to see whether the attorney has apublic record of prior discipline in California and whether the attorney is licensed to practicelaw in California. To find an attorney, go to www.calbar.ca.gov and type the attorney’sname in the box. You can also go ickSearch. Please provide your name, address, zip code, email address (if available), andtelephone numbers (work, home and cell).Be sure to give the full name, address and phone number of the attorney you arecomplaining about. If you wish to complain about more than one attorney, use aseparate form for each attorney.If any of the blank spaces do not apply to your case, write N/A (Not Applicable). Ifyou do not know the size of the attorney’s law firm, please state “Unknown” inresponse to item (7).Date and sign the form.On a separate sheet of paper, tell us about your complaint against the attorney. Tellus what the attorney did or failed to do that you believe may warrant disciplinaryaction. We need to know the background of your case. Tell us in your own wordswhat happened.o If your complaint is about the attorney you hired, tell us: When did you hirethe attorney? What agreement did you make with the attorney? Was theagreement verbal or in writing?o If the complaint is about an attorney who has not represented you, please tellus: What is the connection you have with this attorney? If the attorney isrepresenting a person or entity in a dispute with you, please identify thatperson or entity and explain the nature of the dispute.Provide any helpful documents. Send only copies and keep the originals. Alldocuments you send, originals or copies, become the property of the State Bar andare subject to future destruction.o If you are complaining about an attorney who represented you, providecopies of written fee agreements, payments or other letters (written orelectronic) to the attorney. It may be helpful to provide copies of the front andback sides of all canceled checks and/or copies of receipts showing yourpayments to the attorney. Any documents in your possession could be veryhelpful.o If you are complaining about some other attorney, provide any courtdocuments or correspondence with the attorney which will help to explainyour complaint. If you are represented by counsel in the matter involving the
attorney, please provide your attorney’s name, address and telephonenumber.If you are not fluent in English and need translation services in order to communicate withthe State Bar, please tell us on the complaint form in the section entitled “TranslationInformation.” Please be aware that providing formal translation may delay ourcommunications with you. If you have someone who can provide your own translationassistance and will agree to accept communications from the State Bar in English, pleaselet us know in response to item (8) on the complaint form.The State Bar will review and evaluate your complaint to determine whether investigationand prosecution is appropriate. You will be notified of our decision in writing. Thank youfor your cooperation.The State Bar of California, Office of Chief Trial Counsel
Some Things You Should KnowThe Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC) reviews complaints of unethical conduct byattorneys licensed to practice in California. Should OCTC prosecute allegations containedin your complaint, you may be required to testify before the State Bar Court in order toprove charges against the attorney(s) involved. Below is a list of what OCTC can andcannot do when it considers a complaint against an attorney: OCTC can recommend that an attorney be disciplined only for a violation of theCalifornia State Bar Act or the California Rules of Professional Conduct. OCTC cannot act as your attorney or otherwise help you in legal matters connectedwith your complaint. For example, OCTC cannot give you legal advice or performlegal service for you (such as pursuing damages or other legal action against theattorney(s) involved in your complaint). You may have legal remedies available toyou, but OCTC cannot advise you on your rights in a given situation or what youshould do. The State Bar is not a court that can provide civil remedies to you. OCTC cannot give you the name of a particular attorney to help you with your legalmatters. The State Bar does certify lawyer referral services, and a list of certifiedlawyer referral services is available on the State Bar’s website athttp://www.calbar.ca.gov or by calling (800) 843-9053. Also, the State Bar pamphlet“How Can I Find & Hire the Right Lawyer?” is available on the State Bar’s website bysearching for “Consumer Pamphlets.” OCTC can seek discipline for an attorney’s failure to refund an unearned fee orfailure to account for fees. Please keep in mind, however, that attorney fees are notrefundable simply because you are dissatisfied with your attorney’s services. Inother words, OCTC cannot decide whether an attorney’s fee is reasonable. If youare disputing your attorney’s fees, you may seek to resolve the dispute through a feearbitration process. Information about fee arbitration is available from the StateBar’s website at http://www.calbar.ca.gov or by calling (800) 843-9053. OCTC can seek an order of restitution if an attorney has misappropriated clientfunds. In addition, the State Bar’s Client Security Fund (CSF) may reimburse fundsdishonestly taken by the attorney (but not simply because the lawyer actedincompetently, committed malpractice or failed to take certain action). CSF cannotprocess applications for reimbursement until final discipline has been orderedagainst the attorney by the California Supreme Court. An application forreimbursement from CSF is available from the State Bar’s website athttp://www.calbar.ca.gov or by calling (800) 843-9053. If you have further questions, you may call the Intake Unit’s complaint line at (800)843-9053. Also, the State Bar pamphlet “Having A Problem With Your Lawyer” isavailable on the State Bar’s web site by searching for Consumer Pamphlets. Thepamphlet has helpful answers to questions about dealing with an attorney.
THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIACALIFORNIA ATTORNEY COMPLAINT FORMRead instructions before filling in this form.Please mail to:Office of Chief Trial Counsel / Intake Dept., State Bar of California845 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California 90017-2515(1) Your contact information:Your name:Your address:Your city, state & zip code:Your email address:Your telephone numbers:HomeWorkCell(2) Attorney’s contact information: Please provide the name, address and telephonenumber of the attorney(s) you are complaining about. (NOTE: If you are complainingabout more than one attorney, please use a separate form or include on a separatesheet for each attorney the information requested in items #2 through #7.)Attorney’s name:Attorney’s address:Attorney’s city, state & zip code:Attorney’s telephone number:Attorney’s California bar license number:(3) Have you or a member of your family complained to the State Bar about this attorneypreviously?YesNo(4) Did you employ the attorney? YesNoIf “Yes,” give the approximate date you employed the attorney and theamount, if any, paid to the attorney.Date employed:Amount paid (if any): If “No,” what is your connection with the attorney(s)? Explain briefly.
(5) Include with this form (on a separate piece of paper) a statement of what theattorney(s) did or did not do that is the basis of your complaint. Please state the factsas you understand them. Do not include opinions or arguments. If you employed theattorney(s), state what you employed the attorney(s) to do. Sign and date eachseparate piece of paper. Additional information may be requested. (Attach copies ofpertinent documents such as a copy of the fee agreement, cancelled checks orreceipts, and relevant correspondence.)(6) If your complaint is about a lawsuit, answer the following, if known:a. Name of court (For example, Superior Court and name of the county)b. Title of the suit (For example, Smith v. Jones)c. Case number of the suitd. Approximate date the suit was filede. If you are not a party to this suit, what is your connection with it? Explain briefly.(7) Size of law firm complained about:1 Attorney2 – 10 Attorneys11 AttorneysGovernment AttorneyUnknown(8) Translation Information:If you require that the State Bar utilize formal translation services in order to processyour complaint, it may delay our communications with you. Is someone available toprovide translation assistance for you so that the State Bar may communicate with youin English?YesNoIf “no,” state the language in which you need formal translation:Signature Date: