California’s Chief Ethics Prosecutor Resigns Amid Ongoing Drama

Business Man holding handcuffs after releasing over sunset background. Freedom and Burden-free concept

As previously discussed here on Lawyerist, the State Bar of California’s head prosecutor of lawyers, Chief Trial Counsel Jayne Kim, has been surrounded by drama for much of her five years at the helm of the bar’s disciplinary arm. This week she shocked the bar by resigning her position.

Kim’s resignation comes just a few months after she seemed to overcome the turmoil. In December, she was reappointed by the State Bar’s Board of Trustees for a second full term as Chief Trial Counsel—an unusual feat under any circumstances, much less after a vote of no confidence by her employees. However, the state’s Senate had not yet confirmed her reappointment, and in fact had not even scheduled a vote.

As lawyers watching the scene unfold from the outside, we will never know how this unexpected news became reality. What we can do is hope that upon Kim’s departure, a sense of civility and reason can return to dealings between defense counsel and state bar prosecutors.

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