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How do attorneys lose their licenses?

As an attorney, you are legally and morally obligated to adhere to certain rules when representing clients and in your everyday life. Violating the American Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct may result in a suspension of your license to practice or even disbarment. Here are some of the most common reasons attorneys lose their licenses.

Misappropriation or theft of funds

Attorneys in California are often responsible for holding client funds and awarded damages in a law firm trust. An attorney who uses these funds for their own personal benefit has breached the fiduciary duty they owed to the client.

Violating attorney-client privilege or negligent representation of client

Attorneys have a responsibility to properly represent their clients. Failing to act on behalf of a client, failing to respond to court orders, ignoring client’s attempts at contact, lying to client about status of a case, and other negligent behaviors may be grounds for suspension. Attorneys also have a responsibility to keep all correspondence between themselves and their clients (with some exceptions/limitations). Breaching attorney-client privilege may also lead to license suspension and other consequences.

Crimes of moral turpitude

As an attorney, you are expected to always act honorably and in accordance with the rules of ethics and professional responsibility, even when you are not actively working. Committing a criminal offense, particularly a felony, can result in a suspension of your attorney license or disbarment, depending on the severity of the crime.

Losing the law license you worked so hard to obtain can be devastating on a personal and professional level. Hiring at attorney to help you get your license back as soon as possible may be in your best interest.


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