The State Bar Association of California does not provide for attorney referrals. If you are searching for a specific attorney, much information is available at the State Bar of California website. You may enter in the person’s name under the “Attorney Search” feature, which will then yield related information about that particular lawyer’s bar membership. 

What type of attorney information is available on the Internet?

The “Attorney Search” database found at the State Bar Association of California provides the following information on its members: 

  • Name and contact information, including address, telephone and fax numbers, and e-mail address
  • Date that the lawyer was admitted into the California State Bar
  • Educational background: undergraduate schools and law schools attended
  • Membership status: the member’s current eligibility to practice law in the state of California, along with effective dates
  • Records of public discipline and other administrative actions 

The lawyer’s Membership Status may either be: Active, Inactive, Not Eligible, Resigned, or Disbarred. The database does not provide information on former legal professionals who are deceased, or those who are currently serving as a judge in a court of law. 
Information is also available as to whether they are a “certified legal specialist” in a particular field of law.  

What Should I Be Checking or When Searching for an Attorney?

  • Bar Status: you should check to see that the lawyer is actually a member of the California Bar. Membership implies that they have fulfilled all the requirements for becoming a lawyer in California, such as completing law school, passing the bar exam, and completing a moral character investigation. 
  • Active Bar Status: You should check that their membership status reflects that they are currently active and practicing in California. An “inactive” status means that they are currently not practicing, but they may change their status to “active” at any time at their own election. Members whose status states that they are not eligible, resigned, or disbarred generally cannot practice law in California.
  • Disciplinary Actions:  you should check to see if there have been any disciplinary actions that the lawyer was subject to. A previous history of disciplinary action does not automatically disqualify a lawyer from practicing in California. However, you have every right to know their history, especially if you will be working with them on important matters. 
  • Gather Additional Information: You should gather any information that you think would be helpful for your particular case. For example, if you require an lawyer who is a specialist in a particular field of law, or if you prefer a lawyer who graduated from a particular school, you can find this information online as well. 

Where Can I Find a California Attorney?

There are many reliable sources that will help you find a California lawyer. You can use LegalMatch to match you with an experienced local lawyer. But you can find a lawyer through the California State Bar Website.

What If I Wish to File a Complaint about a California Lawyer?

The State Bar website also provides a link under “Attorney Complaints” where complaints about members may be filed. The site also includes details about its system of discipline for their members. 

You can also obtain a certificate of standing from the State Bar Association regarding any specific member. The certificate is a written statement that verifies whether they have a record of public discipline, and whether they are currently in good standing with the bar. It does not provide details about any reasons why an attorney may have been subject to discipline. As of August 2017, the certificate is available for a fee of $25.