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California State Bar Attorney Search

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Who regulates attorneys in California and how do you look up a lawyer?

California lawyers convicted by the California State Bar of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude face potential license revocation or disbarment. Crimes of moral turpitude usually involve crimes of assault, robbery, or fraud.

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Criminal Convictions and Attorney Discipline in California

The California State Bar can also refuse licenses to prospective California lawyers whose moral character has not been rehabilitated and who have a criminal background. If past crimes or misconduct occurred more than seven (7) years ago, it makes no sense if (despite the recent passage of Assembly Bill 2138).

⚠️ Find out about the latest attorney discipline in California.

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The California State Bar is not a lawyer referral service and cannot provide recommendations, direct you to a specific lawyer, or give legal advice. To obtain certification from the State Bar, lawyer referral services must follow the requirements set by the California Supreme Court.

A California State Bar certified and approved lawyer referral service can:

  • Help decide whether, without a lawyer, your problem can be solved. For instance, you may have an issue that a rent control board could solve or a neighborhood mediation service without charge. The referral service will link you with the appropriate agency if you need this form of assistance.

  • Refer to a pre-screened California lawyer who has expertise in the right law area and is a good member of the State Bar. Lawyer referral services can only recommend lawyers who meet the practice and expertise requirements of the State Bar related to your legal needs.

  • Refer to a California lawyer who carries protection against professional liability. In general, lawyers may determine if they want to carry insurance, but a lawyer must have insurance to be able to serve customers referred by a Certified Lawyer Referral Service. Getting insurance is not only important in the case of malpractice, it also often ensures that risk management services and training offered by the insurance provider help the lawyer.

If you need a referral to a pre-screened and reputable California attorney, submit your request 24 hours a day. California attorneys from our network are vetted for credentials, ethical standards, performance, experience, and fair legal fees.

Who Regulates Attorneys in California?

The California State Bar, as an administrative wing of the California Supreme Court, controls attorneys in California.

In lawyer discipline, the California Supreme Court has the final say, but the state's highest court defers to suggestions made by the State Bar Court.

Conviction hearings originate in the Investigation Section of the Bar Court (as opposed to the Hearing Department) upon the submission by the State Bar's Office of the Chief Trial Lawyer ('OCTC') of a certified copy of a conviction record.

The 2009 California Discipline Scheme State Bar Report describes "conviction referral" as:

After the criminal prosecution of a member, a formal disciplinary proceeding to decide if the conviction includes moral turpitude or other punishment warranting wrongdoing and if so, to evaluate the required degree of discipline. A conviction referral proceeding is triggered by a referral order from the Review Department of the State Bar Court ordering the Hearing Department to hold a hearing, file a conviction order and request that punishment be enforced, if any, or take other action on the issue or issues set out in the order.

The OCTC received 343 new criminal cases for monitoring in 2009, up from 283 in 2005, according to the report outlining the Bar's compliance machinery.

Subject to the risk of temporary termination of the bus service. & Prof. Code Sec. 6102 (a), final discipline is not allowed once a conviction decision has become final.

What Criminal Convictions Cause Discipline From the Ca State Bar?

California lawyers will be convicted for felony convictions involving moral turpitude and convictions involving' other discipline warranting misconduct.

Section 6101 (a) of the California Business and Professions Code provides that conviction "of a misdemeanor or felony, involving moral turpitude, is a cause of disbarment or suspension." (Conviction is specified in subsection (e) to include a plea or verdict of guilty, acceptance of no plea of the contest, or a conviction following a plea of no contest.)

By its "inherent power to control the practice of law to protect the profession and the public," the state Supreme Court can also take disciplinary measures about other misconduct warranting discipline."

In felony cases involving moral turpitude or an aspect of which is the explicit intent to cheat, defraud, steal, or make or suborn a false statement, Section 6102 (c) of the Business and Professions Code provides for summary disbarment.

In 2001, an attorney who did not challenge the forgery of a witness's signature on court papers, the summary disbarment clause emerged. The State Supreme Court dismissed claims that the petitioner was entitled to a hearing and ruled that there wasn't a constitutional violation of the summary disbarment clause on the intrinsic jurisdiction of the court over attorney discipline.

What is Moral Turpitude?

A lot rides on whether moral turpitude requires a conviction. Yet, according to the state Supreme Court, moral turpitude "is an elusive concept incapable of the precise general definition."

Moral turpitude' has been described by many authorities as an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity, contrary to the agreed and customary rule of law and duty between man and a man, in social and private duties that a man owes to his fellowmen or society in general.'

Certain crimes entail moral turpitude per se, such as "crimes involving an intention to defraud as well as serious repugnant crimes such as murder," while other crimes include moral turpitude depending on the circumstances of a specific case.

"The purpose of the moral turpitude inquiry allows the court to "identify those lawyers who are unfit to practice law, so that sanctions can be enforced to avoid future misconduct from the public, bench and bar.

Here are examples of cases in which moral turpitude has been found by the State Supreme Court or Bar Court in connection with convictions of attorneys:

  • Murder

  • Attempted lewd act on a minor.

  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (PC 272)

  • Solicitation to commit assault on the former client (PC 653(f))

  • Vehicular manslaughter with extensive priors19

  • Perjury

  • Mail fraud

  • Federal securities laws violation

  • False personation to obtain a benefit (PC 529(3))

  • Grand theft of client and firm funds

Standard 2.11 of the Rules of Procedure specifies that disbarment or actual dismissal is an effective punishment for convictions connected to moral turpitude. Note that when assessing discipline, the Bar may take mitigating and aggravating circumstances into account:

The absence of previous discipline, lack of injury, serious emotional problems not caused by criminal behavior, and "spontaneous" candor and cooperation in the investigative phase of the State Bar are mitigating circumstances.

On the other hand, aggravating conditions include a previous record of punishment, a history of wrongdoing, and misconduct surrounded by bad faith, dishonesty, hiding or overreaching.

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Other Crimes That Demand Discipline for California Lawyers

The investigation into belief should not conclude even though there is no discovery of moral turpitude. If the prosecution includes "other misconduct warranting discipline," an attorney will also be prosecuted.

Like "moral turpitude," this notion seems to suffer from a lack of accuracy. Such other misconduct" was found, however, in the following forms of convictions:

  • Drunk driving (DUI)

  • Domestic abuse

  • Carrying a concealed weapon

  • Willful failure to file federal tax returns on income

  • Non-payment of payroll taxes and contributions to unemployment benefits.

True suspension is the supposed punishment for the final prosecution of a crime that does not require moral turpitude but requires some discipline warranting misconduct. In the meantime, revocation or reproval is the presumed punishment for the final prosecution of a crime that does not require moral turpitude but includes discipline warranting other wrongdoing.

How To Find Honest Lawyers In California?

You should immediately consult with a pre-screened California attorney with experience in the California court system. To get an unbiased referral to a pre-screened California attorney, you should:

  1. Submit a request online 24 hours a day. Free case review within 15 minutes.

  2. Request a lawyer referral by chat; you'll be connected with a California lawyer within 5 minutes.

  3. By calling the 24-hour lawyer referral hotline at 1-661-310-7999

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Best Lawyers Near Los Angeles

California State Bar Certified Lawyer Referral And Information Service

Welcome to, a Lawyer Referral and Information Service certified and approved by the California State Bar.

"Our commitment is to provide you with unbiased and impartial lawyer referrals."


Unlike other services, we maintain complete independence from the lawyers receiving these referrals, ensuring transparency and fairness.

While we specialize in California employment law and personal injury claims, we offer our referral services for various other legal areas.


At, we aim to ensure you are connected with best California attorney near you who can provide comprehensive and exceptional representation for your specific legal needs.


We understand that every legal situation is unique and are dedicated to finding the best match for you.


With our extensive network of attorneys, we strive to deliver outstanding legal support and guidance tailored to your individual requirements.

At, we hold California attorneys to the highest standards of professional conduct.


Your satisfaction and confidence in the legal representation you receive are paramount to us.


Rest assured that when you engage in our services, you can expect nothing less than exceptional legal support and guidance.

Why Lawyer Referrals Matter


The California State Bar investigates on average 16,000 complaints of professional misconduct by attorneys annually.

We conduct due diligence by researching and recommending the best local attorney for your case. 


Our team of experts verifies that attorneys are in good standing and have the required experience in the type of law related to your legal issue. 

Learn more about attorney discipline here.


Our History 


Since 2005, we have been dedicated to helping individuals find reliable legal representation in California.


We understand the challenges people face when trying to locate reputable lawyers, especially when inundated with self-promoting advertisements and biased marketing from law firms.


At our service, we strive to cut through the noise and provide a trustworthy and unbiased platform for connecting individuals with reputable California lawyers.


Our clients receive quality legal representation without the frustration and uncertainty often associated with legal advertising.

How the LRS Works 

Anyone seeking competent and honest legal representation in California, can request a FREE lawyer referral. 

Once you submit your case details online, our legal 24-hour legal department will review your claim and reply via email. Most cases are reviewed and answered within 15 minutes. 


A free 30 minute consultation with the attorney will be offered to each referred client. 

A representative will follow up a few days later via email with the client after receiving a referral for quality management purposes, or to obtain the status of the case. 

About lawyers from our network

California lawyers in our network are insured, in good standing with the California State Bar, and have substantial experience in their practice area.


Attorneys are available in most areas of law throughout Southern California. Every lawyer in or network has been vetted for:

  • Credentials

  • Education

  • Communication skills

  • Performance

  • Client reviews

  • Fair legal fees

  • Continuing education

  • Professional affiliations

Additionally, we conduct criminal  background checks and attorneys are always monitored by our service.  

How to find the best lawyer for your legal case: 

1. The fastest way to have your legal issue reviewed by one of our attorneys is to send your details online.


Your information will go directly to our 24 hour legal department bypassing our call center. You will get a reply via email within 15 minutes. 

2. You may also inquire about your legal issue via email. We respond to email inquiries within 24 hours M-F. 

3. By calling our lawyer referral hotline 661-310-7999. However, our agents are not attorneys and cannot provide legal advice. Due to high call volumes, it's highly recommended that you use option # 1 above. 


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