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Association of Discipline Defense Counsel


The Association of Discipline Defense Counsel is the bar association for lawyers who represent lawyers and others in disciplinary, admissions, and regulatory proceedings before the State Bar of California and the California Supreme Court.

Our members include former State Bar discipline prosecutors, former State Bar Court judges, current and former members of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct, and legal ethics professors. Collectively our members have hundreds of years of experience with the discipline system and the bar admission process.

Many of our members also practice in other areas of law, including legal malpractice civil litigation, legal ethics, defense of other professionals in administrative proceedings, attorney/law firm risk management, and criminal defense.


~ to ensure that attorneys and bar applicants are treated fairly and afforded due process in discipline, admissions, and regulatory proceedings conducted by the State Bar of California;

~ to offer informed comment and vigorous critique on the existing and proposed policies, rules, statutes, and procedures governing the discipline system;

~ to educate the profession and public about the discipline system and the realities of attorney misconduct;

~ to enhance the quality of advocacy by defense counsel before the State Bar and State Bar Court;

~ to work with the State Bar, local bar associations, and others to address the root causes of attorney misconduct.


~Lawyers need lawyers too, and when you are dealing with the State Bar, you need a lawyer that knows the ins-and-outs of State Bar disciplinary proceedings. Members of ADDC specialize in State Bar discipline defense and possess a unique understanding of the substantive and procedural rules that govern.

~An inquiry or investigation letter from the State Bar should not be taken lightly, as it could be a precursor to a public disciplinary proceeding before the State Bar Court with your law license on the line.

~Responding to the State Bar on your own could make matters worse. Saying too much, saying the wrong thing, or making a less than accurate statement could increase your exposure to discipline.

~Hiring defense counsel does not make you look culpable in the eyes of the State Bar. Indeed, in certain cases the State Bar is relieved when ethics counsel is hired to guide respondent attorneys through the process and to advise them of their professional and ethical obligations.

~Representing yourself can end up costing more than hiring counsel. Hiring discipline defense counsel could increase your chances of getting a State Bar matter closed before discipline charges are filed, or resolved at an early stage in the proceeding before the statutory imposed discipline costs get too high. (Compare $3,215 in discipline costs if case is settled prior to charges being filed vs. $17,574 for a multi-day trial [figures are for matters filed in 2017].)

Association of Discipline Defense Counsel