Report 2015-030 Recommendation 4 Responses

Report 2015-030: State Bar of California: It Has Not Consistently Protected the Public Through Its Attorney Discipline Process and Lacks Accountability (Release Date: June 2015)

Recommendation #4 To: Bar of California, State

To provide clear and reliable information to the Legislature, the governor, and the public, the State Bar should define how it calculates case-processing speeds in its discipline report and should report this metric using the same method each year. If the State Bar elects to continue presenting the median case-processing time, it should also present the average case-processing time. Finally, it should fully disclose any methodology changes from the methodology used in the prior year.

1-Year Agency Response

See attached Annual Discipline Report which addresses definition for case processing speeds, provides both mean and median times, and discloses changes in methodology from prior year.

  • Completion Date: May 2016
  • Response Date: June 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Fully Implemented

6-Month Agency Response

Business and Professions Code sections 6086.15(a)(5)-(9)specifies the methodology to be used for calculating case-processing speed; this methodology will be used to complete the 2015 Annual Discipline Report. The estimated completion date for this item reflects the due date for the 2015 Report.

  • Estimated Completion Date: April 30, 2016
  • Response Date: December 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending

60-Day Agency Response

Beginning with its annual discipline report for 2015, the State Bar will begin including the average or "mean" case processing time to provide more information to stakeholders. The State Bar will also continue to present its case-processing times using the positional measurements of median and 90th percentile in order to provide a more complete picture of the time for handling cases. Average is a useful measurement when the distribution is normal. However, the processing times of discipline cases is not normal; instead there are typically "outliers," with the time taken to conclude these cases creating a "long tail" in the distribution curve that dramatically affects the average. In this situation, the average time will be above the "typical" value and well below the "long tail." For this reason, the State Bar had reported both the median (a standard and widely used statistic for long-tailed distributions) and the 90th percentile (an indicator of the "long tail"). Including average with median and 90th percentile will provide more complete information. When enacted, Senate Bill No. 387 will include an amendment to Business and Professions Code section 6086.15, subdivision (a)(5) to provide that speed of handling and disposition of cases be measured by both median and average time.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 4/30/2016
  • Response Date: August 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

All Recommendations in 2015-030

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.