Discipline unit keeps backlog in check
By Amy Yarbrough
The new year is off to a good start for the State Bar’s
discipline unit, which ended 2012 with an investigations backlog of just five
Other figures compiled late last year were similarly
positive. The Office of Chief Trial Counsel reported that it had a lower-than-expected
backlog of 232 complaints where the investigations had been completed, but
charges had not been filed. In doing so, the office exceeded its goal of
rounding out the year with no more than 250 complaints in backlog. Cases older
than six months that have not been either dismissed or formal charges filed are
In addition, the State Bar also saw a significant increase
in the number of discipline trials begun in 2012 – 176 last year compared with
101 in 2011 and 112 in 2010.
The figures are some added good news for the State Bar which
announced last January that it had, for the first time in decades, eliminated
its investigations backlog.
“By maintaining a zero backlog, we are slowly showing our constituency,
the people of California, that we are deadly serious about meeting our
regulatory responsibility,” Executive Director/CEO Joe Dunn said.
Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim said that the fact that her
office started out last year with a zero backlog was probably the biggest
factor that led to the low numbers in December. Kim said it also helped that
without old cases to worry about, investigators were free to focus on the new
“We just pressed on people to monitor this backlog every
day,” she said.
The State Bar is planning to look for ways to further
expedite the handling of cases by continuing to strengthen its audit processes
and holding additional summits with law enforcement and other outside agencies.