By Lauren Holappa
In May 2022, the California State Bar Board of Trustees approved its five-year strategic plan focusing on four goals to support its public protection mission. Between 2022 and 2027, the State Bar plans to protect the public by (1) strengthening the attorney discipline system, (2) enhancing access to and inclusion in the legal system, (3) regulating the legal profession, and (4) engaging partners. Here is an overview of all four goals:
Protecting the Public by Strengthening the Attorney Discipline System
The State Bar plans to “administer an attorney discipline system that is efficient, accountable, and transparent.” The Bar hopes to adopt new processing standards and improved operational practices to prioritize cases that pose the most significant risk thereby reducing the backlog of unresolved cases. The Bar plans to help those hurt by attorney misconduct submit their complaints. It will also work to educate communities most likely to be harmed by the unauthorized practice of law to prevent future victimization. Lastly, new strategies will be employed to investigate and prosecute attorney misconduct.
Protecting the Public by Enhancing Access to and Inclusion in the Legal System
The Bar hopes that all Californians will “have access to high quality, affordable, and culturally legal advice and services.” The 2022 Report Card on the Diversity of California’s Legal Profession released in August 2022 established that while white people comprise only 39 percent of the state’s adult population, they account for 66 percent of California’s active licensed attorneys. The Bar has committed itself to fostering a diverse legal profession that represents all of CA’s communities. It plans to accomplish this by revising the State Bar admissions requirements. The Bar will also focus on providing legal services to underserved groups. It plans to increase public education and outreach in order to close the knowledge gap and connect Californians to relevant legal resources. Additionally, it hopes to develop regulatory reform which will increase access to affordable legal services.
Protect the Public by Regulating the Legal Profession
The Bar hopes to promote the ethical and competent practice of law. It will work to provide the resources and support needed to prevent licensee misconduct by developing self-assessments modules, practice tools, and other professional resources. It will also continue to require minimum continuing legal education. Lastly, it will implement new regulations to address and deter especially harmful misconduct.
Protect the Public by Engaging Partners
The Bar’s last goal is to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to enhance public protection and restore the Bar’s reputation. It aims to be more transparent and is committed to increasing access to State Bar meetings. Additionally, it strives to increase the number of stakeholders and ensure that licensees are aware of the Bar’s work and how it supports the competent and ethical practice of law. The goal is to have partners and stakeholders actively working alongside the Bar to assist with initiatives, programs, and services. For more details, please refer to the 2022–2027 Strategic Plan.