Bar Examination Pass Rate Hits 67 Year Low
The passage rate for the July 2018 Bar Examination was just 40.7%, the lowest rate in 67 years and 9 percentage points lower than the 2017 examination.  Other states had suffered similar decreases in their passage rates. "We're also troubled by a low pass rate, and are working to better understand the reasons behind this national trend," said Leah T. Wilson, Executive Director of the State Bar of California.  The California Supreme Court has resisted efforts to lower the passing score

U.S. Supreme Court Orders Reconsideration on Mandatory Bar Membership
The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Eighth Circuit to reconsider a challenge by  North Dakota lawyer to mandatory bar membership in North Dakota's "integrated" State Bar.  California has disintegrated its formerly integrated bar association by spinning off the sections into the new California Lawyers Association; the recently passed fee bill re-designates "members" of the State Bar as "licensees."
Public Comment: Client Perjury
The State Bar of California committee on professional responsibility and conduct is seeking public comment on proposed Proposed Formal Opinion Interim No. 14-0004.

The opinion considers: What are the attorney's duties when the attorney suspects, but does not know, a client's witness who is expected to testify at a civil trial has testified falsely, albeit favorably, for the attorney's client at deposition? What are the attorney's duties when the attorney knows, rather than merely suspects, the same witness has committed perjury and yet the client instructs the attorney to use the witness's false testimony at the upcoming civil trial? The facts are the same as Issue #2, except the attorney first learns of the perjury after the witness has testified at trial. Thus, what are the attorney's duties, if any, after a witness has committed perjury at trial but the client has instructed the attorney not to reveal the perjury?
The opinion interprets rules 1.6, 1.16, and 3.3 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California; and Business and Professions Code sections 6068, 6106, and 6128.
The opinion digest states: Because an attorney must represent a client zealously, the attorney may offer testimony of questionable credibility; however, because of the duty of candor to the court, an attorney must not present or use testimony known to be false even if the client has instructed them to do so. If the testimony has already been offered, the attorney must take reasonable remedial measures to correct the record without violating the duty of confidentiality. If such measures fail, the attorney may have a duty to seek to withdraw from the representation.

Direct comments to
Angela Marlaud
Office of Professional Competence
State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: 415-538-2116
Fax: 415-538-2171

  New Rules of Professional Conduct Now Effective
The new California Rules of Professional Conduct became effective November 1, 2018.  All lawyers admitted or practicing in California ( Rule 8.5(a)) are subject to these new rules. They follow the American Bar Association Model Rules numbering system and adopt much of the text of the Model Rules, along with many California changes. These Rules will dramatically change the way California lawyers practice -- especially new Rule 1.7 on conflicts, new Rule 1.15 on handling clients funds, new Rule 4.3 on contact with represented persons, new Rules 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 on supervising subordinate lawyers and non-lawyers and new Rules 7.1-7.5 on advertising and solicitation.  But there is much more in the new Rules that you need to know about. Below is link the Court's order approving the Rules and the text of the new Rules.

California Supreme Court Adopts Attorney Fingerprinting Rule
New California Rule of Court 9.5.5 Requires All Attorneys to be Fingerprinted Before December 1, 2019
On June 1, 2018, the California Supreme Court adopted new California Rule of Court 9.9.5 requiring all California attorneys to submit new fingerprints to the State Bar by December 1, 2019.  Failure to do so.  Failure to be fingerprinted if required by this rule may result in involuntary inactive enrollment pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 6054, subdivision (d).  Attorneys are required to bear the cost of the fingerprinting.
 David C. Carr

David C. Carr is a lawyer in private practice in San Diego, California.  Since 2001 his practice has emphasized representing attorneys in matters involving legal ethics and the law of lawyering, including discipline defense, bar admissions, attorney fee disputes, attorney professional responsibility and ethics advice.  

 Mr. Carr graduated from  Loyola Law School in 1986 and was admitted to the California Bar that year.  After practicing in business litigation and commercial law, Mr. Carr spent 12 years as staff attorney, discipline prosecutor and manager at the State Bar of California, before returning to private practice in 2001. 

He is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, where he serves on the Legal Ethics Committee. He is also a member of the  Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers and the  Association of Discipline Defense Counsel, where he served as President from 2008 through 2010.  Mr. Carr also teaches professional responsibility at Thomas Jefferson School of Law.
This is a message concerning the provision of legal services (Cal. Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1. ) I am licensed to practice law in California only.  I am the responsible attorney and the  author of all content in this newsletter and I am solely responsible for its contents.