Report 2015-047 Recommendation 1 Responses

Report 2015-047: The State Bar of California: Its Lack of Transparency Has Undermined Its Communications With Decision Makers and Stakeholders (Release Date: May 2016)

Recommendation #1 To: Bar of California, State

To reduce the length of time that victims of dishonest lawyers must wait for reimbursement from the Client Security Fund, the State Bar should continue to explore fund transfers, member fee increases, and operating efficiencies that would increase resources available for payouts.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The State Bar continues to explore fund transfers, attorney licensing fee increases and operating efficiencies that would increase resources available for payouts. The 2018 fee bill includes a requirement that the Bar complete this analysis by March, 2018.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2018

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

A provision of the 2018 fee bill (Business and Professions Code 6140.56(a)-(c)), which will take effect on January 1, 2018, requires the State Bar to analyze the Client Security Fund including a determination of the ongoing needs of the fund to satisfy claims in a timely manner and a review of additional efforts that can be taken to increase the collection of payments from responsible attorneys, among other things. It defines 'timely' as the later of 12 months from either the time the claim is received by the State Bar or the resolution of the underlying discipline case involving an attorney member that is a prerequisite to paying the claim. It also requires that the State Bar report the results of its analysis to the Legislature by March 15, 2018.

1-Year Agency Response

The Supreme Court did not increase in the Client Security Fund as part of its 2017 licensing fee assessment. Bar staff has continued to work with the Special Master to identify and advocate for additional funding for the CSF. See attached March 2017 report to the Special Master.

  • Estimated Completion Date: continuous activity
  • Response Date: May 2017

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

6-Month Agency Response

The legislature did not act on the 2017 fee bill. The Bar's most recent effort to explore additional CSF funding is codified in the Bar's October 31, 2016, supplemental Supreme Court filing seeking authorization of 2017 fees. The Bar specifically requested a $25 CSF fee increase. The supplemental filing can be found here:

  • Estimated Completion Date: ongoing
  • Response Date: November 2016

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

60-Day Agency Response

The 2017 attorney fee bill contains specific provisions regarding such an assessment of the Client Security Fund; that work is to be completed by the end of March 2017.

  • Estimated Completion Date: March 31, 2017
  • Response Date: July 2016

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

All Recommendations in 2015-047

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.