How to Check a Lawyer's Reputation in California
- 1). Visit the State Bar of California's website (see Resources) and click on the link for "Attorney Search." Enter the lawyer's full name or bar number into the search field and click on "Quick Search."
- 2). Review the search results and click on the name of the person whom you would like to research. Confirm that the member profile is for the correct person by looking at the attorney's full name, the law firm name, address and county. Compare the member profile with the lawyer's business card, if you have one.
- 3). Review the lawyer's "Status History" in the lower half of the member profile. An Active status means that the individual is currently able to practice law in California; Inactive, Not Eligible to Practice Law, Resigned or Disbarred statuses mean that the lawyer does not meet requirements to take on clients as a lawyer at this time. Look at the member's admission date to find out whether he has been practicing law for as long as he claims.
- 4). Look at the last section of the profile, "Actions Affecting Eligibility to Practice Law," to find any disciplinary actions taken by the State Bar of California against the lawyer. The State Bar's disciplinary actions against a lawyer can range from private reproval to disbarment, which reflects significant infractions or unethical conduct.
- 5). Consider also asking the lawyer for the names of previous clients who might be able to recommend her services. Ask for attorney referrals from trusted family members, friends or colleagues. Positive referrals may be a sign of the lawyer's reputation.