Solo & Small Firm

State Bar of California Names George S. Cardona as New Chief Trial Counsel for the Attorney Discipline System

August 27, 2021

The State Bar Board of Trustees announced that it has appointed a new Chief Trial Counsel to lead the Office of Chief Trial Counsel (OCTC), which investigates and prosecutes disciplinary matters: George S. Cardona, a long-time prosecutor at both the federal and municipal level and currently the interim City Attorney for Santa Monica.

“The Board strongly supports George, and we look forward to working with him as we continue efforts to strengthen the discipline system, ensuring that the State Bar fulfills its public protection mission effectively and fairly,” said Board Chair Sean SeLegue. “George has devoted his career to public service and brings significant prosecutorial and management experience, legal talent, and a reputation for absolute integrity to this critical role.”

Cardona has been a prosecutor for three decades, primarily in the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, where he served from 1991 to 2015 in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. As First Assistant U.S. Attorney, he managed approximately 250 attorneys in three litigating divisions (civil, criminal, and tax), oversaw and participated in investigation and litigation of significant civil and criminal cases, oversaw budget, administration, and policy issues, and coordinated with other agencies. Cardona received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1986 and has been a lecturer at the UCLA School of Law for many years. His bachelor’s degree in physics was also from Yale. Cardona was admitted to the State Bar as a licensed attorney in 1988 and served as a member of the State Bar’s Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct from 2015 to 2018.

“I am humbled and honored to join the Office of Chief Trial Counsel at this important time,” Cardona said. “When people need help with a legal issue, they place their trust in their attorney’s competence and ethics. The State Bar’s mission is to safeguard that trust, and I can think of no job more important than that.”

Cardona’s anticipated start date is October 4, 2021. The State Bar will submit the appointment of Cardona as Chief Trial Counsel to the California Senate Rules Committee, as the position is subject to Senate confirmation.

About the State Bar’s Office of Chief Trial Counsel

OCTC reviews approximately 17,500 cases of attorney misconduct and unauthorized practice of law (UPL) each year. OCTC conducts investigations, files discipline charges, and prosecutes attorney misconduct cases in the State Bar Court. OCTC also investigates complaints regarding the unauthorized practice of law, and partners closely with other government agencies in UPL enforcement and prosecution.

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