Getting to know the State Bar of California
The State Bar of California was created in 1927 by the State Legislature. It is considered a public corporation within the judicial branch, as an extension or arm of the California Supreme Court. All members of the State Bar are considers officers to the court.
The State Bar of California not only provides services and support to attorneys, but they also play an active role in the public. They evaluate judicial candidate, provide high quality legal services, like pro bono attorneys, and provide attorney search directories as well as means to submit attorney complaints. All of this can be found on the State Bar of California’s website.
As of May 2011, there are almost 232,000 members of the State Bar of California, while over 171,000 of them actively practice law in California. The State Bar receives funding mailing by dues from the attorneys and applicants. The State Bar of California has received from 5,000 to 7,000 new members annually since 1976.
The State Bar of California is governed by a Board of Governors, consisting of 23 members. 15 of them are lawyers elected by members of the State by while the 16th is elected by the California Young Lawyers Association.
Meanwhile, six public non-lawyer members are also appointed – one by the state Senate Committee on Rules, one by the Speaker of the Assembly, and four by California’s Governor. The last member is a fourth year member who is elected by the other board member as the State Bar of California’s President and the bar’s chief officer.
In order to be admitted to the State Bar of California and to Practice law in California, the prospective member must complete certain requirements.
First, they must have at least two years of approved college work or its equivalent. They must then complete an online registration with the Committee of Bar Examiners, which is also necessary for all attorneys from other jurisdictions who want to practice law in California.
Unlike most states, California allows individuals who have not attended law school (or have attended a non ABA accredited law school) to take the bar. However, the individual must have experience studying in a law office or judge’s chamber study program.
The most critical step to receive entrance into the State Bar of California is taking and passing multiple examinations over a three day period. This includes the First-Year Law Students’ examination, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, which is given by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and finally the California Bar Examination.
By being a member of the State Bar of California, it entitles an attorney the privilege as well as legal right to practice law within California. The organization provides assistance to attorneys to complete their professional obligation as well as protection to the public.