Report 2015-030 Recommendation 7 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 #7 To: Bar of California, State

To ensure that the audit and review unit's random audits of closed case files provide an effective oversight mechanism, the State Bar should follow its policy to conduct and record meetings and trainings related to the audit report's recommendations.

Agency Response*

Significant progress has been made regarding this recommendation, although the Bar does not believe it has been fully implemented and institutionalized.

During 2017 the State Bar contracted with an additional auditor to review casefiles and enter data into the new audit database. As a result of this additional effort, at the end of October, data from four bi-annual audits had been entered into the new audit database which will allow for the tracking of compliance with policy and procedure in the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC). Staff in the Office of Research and Institutional Accountability will be working through the end of 2017 and early 2018 with OCTC staff to review the data and determine whether patterns in the data can be used to inform the training of OCTC attorneys and Investigators.

Absent this more systemic review of the data, "lessons learned" from the audits are being summarized and conveyed to staff in a way that maximizes impact and reduces the chances that they continue to make the same errors.

  • Response Type†: Annual Follow Up
  • Estimated Completion Date: June 2018
  • Response Date: November 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented

The State Bar confirmed that it conducts and records meetings and trainings related to the audit and review unit's random audit report's recommendations. However, as indicated by the State Bar, it does not believe this recommendation will be fully implemented or institutionalized until staff in the Office of Research and Institutional Accountability have reviewed new data and determined whether patterns in the data can be used to inform the training of OCTC attorneys and Investigators.


Agency Response*

Prior to fully implementing this recommendation it was necessary to reorganize the random audit process so that data could be compiled systematically regarding the findings of the audit. In June, 2016, the State Bar created a database to capture information from the random audit. During July and August of 2016, the audit process was moved from a paper-based system - in which findings from each case were returned to individual case files - to an automated process in which data from each case-file review are captured and stored in the new database. These data are now being analyzed and will be evaluated in conjunction with the auditor to identify patterns of problems that will be used to inform future trainings.

  • Response Type†: Annual Follow Up
  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2016
  • Response Date: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented


Agency Response*

To fully implement this recommendation, the State Bar developed a database in June to capture information from the random audit so that the audit findings may be systematically analyzed and used for training purposes. During July and August of 2016, the audit process was moved from a paper-based system - in which findings from each case were returned to individual case files - to an automated process in which data from each case-file review are captured and stored in the new database. These data are currently being analyzed and will be evaluated in conjunction with the auditor to identify patterns of problems that will be used to inform future trainings.

  • Response Type†: Annual Follow Up
  • Estimated Completion Date: 12/31/2016
  • Response Date: October 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented


Agency Response*

The Bar has modified the contract for the audit and review function. The first report prepared pursuant to modified contract terms will be submitted to the Bar by 9/1/16. Executive Office staff will work with the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel to ensure that training occurs with respect to specific findings and recommendations included in the 9/1/16 report.

  • Response Type†: 1-Year
  • Estimated Completion Date: 9/30/2016
  • Response Date: June 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Partially Implemented


Agency Response*

The State Bar's new leadership team is reviewing the audit and review function, and has transitioned management of the contract for the random audit function from the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel to the Chief Operating Officer. As part of the transition, the contract will be modified to expand both the scope and depth of the audit. These modifications will also address the need to systemize the dissemination of audit findings, and the development and delivery of training to address those findings.

  • Response Type†: 6-Month
  • Estimated Completion Date: January 31, 2016
  • Response Date: December 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending


Agency Response*

OCTC is reviewing the processes of its audit and review unit and will take steps to ensure compliance with its policy to conduct and record meetings and trainings related to the audit report's recommendations.

  • Response Type†: 60-Day
  • Estimated Completion Date: 11/20/2015
  • Response Date: August 2015

California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2015-030

†Response Type refers to the interval in which the auditee is providing the State Auditor with their status in implementing recommendations made in an audit report. Auditees must submit a response regarding their progress in implementing recommendations from our reports at three intervals from the release of the report: 60 days, six months, and one year or subsequent to one year.

*Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.


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