To ensure that it consistently counts and reports its backlog of disciplinary cases, the State Bar and the Legislature should work together to determine what cases the State Bar should include in its backlog. For example, one method of calculating the backlog would be to include every case that affects public protection that the State Bar does not resolve within six months from the time it receives a complaint. The Legislature should then amend the state law that currently defines how the State Bar should present the backlog in its discipline report.
Senate Bill 387 (Chapter 537, Statutes of 2015), in part provides that, in addition to written complaints received by the California State Bar, its Annual Discipline Report on backlog of cases must include other matters opened in the Office of the Chief Trial Counsel and pending beyond six months after receipt without the filing of notices of disciplinary charges, or the initiation of other disciplinary proceedings in the State Bar Court for the purpose of seeking the imposition of discipline against a member of the State Bar. The bill also requires the State Bar's Annual Discipline Report to include the number, average pending time, and other specified information related to disciplinary cases and complaints.