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Webinar: Impaired Colleague? How Neutrals Address Attorney Competence, the Warning Signs, and Avoiding a Disciplinary Complaint

January 16 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

Special low price! 1 Hour MCLE; 1 Competency Issues  

This program will identify substance use and mental health issues among attorneys, discuss an attorney’s ethical obligations regarding an impaired colleague, explain how to avoid a disciplinary complaint and discuss resources available to attorneys. 

Attorney Erin Joyce has extensive experience in State Bar investigations and disciplinary proceedings, plus over twenty-five years of civil litigation practice. Erin was admitted in 1990 and practiced for nearly eight years in an intellectual property boutique before joining the Office of Chief Trial Counsel as a prosecutor for the State Bar, from 1997 through 2016. Erin has almost twenty years of experience handling all aspects of discipline cases against attorneys in State Bar Court, from the filing of the complaint through trial and review. She has personally tried dozens of State Bar trials and several appeals. Erin has a comprehensive understanding of how State Bar investigations and proceedings unfold. Before going into private practice, Erin served as Chief Special Investigator for the Los Angeles Fire Department, as a prosecutor for the State Bar of California, and as a lawyer for multiple private practices.

Lita Abella is a native of Southern California. Lita earned a Juris Doctor from Western State University College of Law in Orange County in 2004. While in law school, Lita was a law clerk for the Riverside District Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, and certified mediator for the Superior Court of Orange County.

Lita is a Senior Program Analyst at the State Bar of California, where she conducts outreach and is a MCLE presenter for the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP). LAP assists law students, bar exam applicants, and attorneys with substance use and mental health issues.

Prior to that, Lita worked as an investigator in the Office of Chief Trial Counsel where she investigated and assisted in the prosecution of attorneys for misconduct. She has been with the State Bar for 11 years.

Beginning in 1980, Lita served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 20 years, breaking many glass ceilings as a female and minority. She worked various assignments including but not limited to patrol, Internal Affairs, narcotics, and vice. She was a court-qualified narcotics expert during her years in law enforcement and attained the rank of lieutenant.

Lita was a fitness instructor for 20 years and is currently a health and wellness consultant. She is nationally certified by the Athletic and Fitness Association of America. She is also a business owner for the past 24 years.

She is a proud mom of a newly licensed attorney!

We are committed to accessibility! Virtual events are equipped with closed captioning. To request an in-person accommodation, send us a note at or contact us at 916-516-1760 for assistance.


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