Regulatory and Discipline Counsel for Legal Professionals

State Bar Investigations and State Bar Discipline Defense

Expert Testimony

MCLE Programming


LOS ANGELES | 818.484.8955
SAN FRANCISCO | 415.523.6001

When attorneys need help with legal ethics or the law of lawyering in California, or receive a State Bar complaint, they call Jim Ham first. Jim has handled thousands of California State Bar discipline investigations and inquiries and has tried numerous State Bar discipline cases to decision and through appeal. He also helps bar applicants — law students, foreign attorneys and attorneys licensed in other jurisdictions – to navigate the California State Bar moral character determination and State Bar licensing application processes.

Jim serves as outside California legal ethics and attorney regulation counsel to many respected law firms, solo and small firm practitioners, and corporate in-house counsel. Jim combines decades of experience in commercial civil litigation, law firm management and legal ethics to deliver skilled, independent, objective and trusted advice to his clients, who appreciate the delicate and often highly confidential nature of their legal ethics issues.

Jim’s clients understand the potential reputational and business risks presented by a State Bar complaint or a malpractice claim. They don’t represent themselves when facing personal exposure to allegations of misconduct in an unfamiliar forum with unfamiliar rules and procedures. Jim’s experience benefits clients from the start of a State Bar investigation until its conclusion.He can tackle the most complicated State Bar case, and can guide you through the State Bar investigation maze and discipline process.

Jim’s experience includes membership on the Special Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California, whose recommendations for the comprehensive redrafting of the California Rules of Professional Conduct were substantially adopted by the California Supreme Court in November 2018. He taught legal professions and legal ethics at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law. Jim was also a member of the California State Bar Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (“COPRAC”). He is a 30-plus year member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Professional Responsibly and Ethics Committee and chaired the committee twice. He is a member and former officer of the Association of Discipline Defense Counsel and is chair of the Public Statements Committee of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (“APRL”). He writes and speaks frequently at MCLE programs on legal ethics and lawyer regulation.

Jim has been recognized by his peers for decades as a Preeminent AV rated attorney by Martindale Hubbell. He has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer every year since 2006. He is licensed to practice law in California and Texas.

Jim’s public service and pro bono activities include serving on the Boards of Friends of the Los Angeles County Law Library and California Indian Legal Services, acting as a pro bono attorney for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Project, and assisting in other Bar Association activities.

Before focusing his practice more narrowly on legal ethics and the law of lawyering, Jim spent two decades as an equity partner of Arnold & Porter, LLP, a national law firm, and shareholder of Quinn, Kully and Morrow, P.C., a boutique Los Angeles law firm. Jim was also a partner for many years in Pansky Markle Ham LLP in South Pasadena.

Jim speaks and writes regularly on the topic of legal ethics. He is an active poster of breaking ethics news and developments at his LinkedIn page

To better serve our clients, the Law Offices of James I. Ham has offices in the greater Los Angeles area (Glendale) and San Francisco for the handling of State Bar discipline matters.

Our Services:

  • On-Call Telephone Legal Ethics Consultations
  • Assistance with Responses to California State Bar Investigation Letters
  • Defense of State Bar Investigations, Discipline Trials and Appeals
  • State Bar Probation Compliance and Probation Violations
  • MCLE Compliance Audits Advice and Assistance
  • Bar Applicant Moral Character Applications and Proceedings
  • Law School Academic Discipline and Investigations
  • Expert Consultation and Testimony Regarding Standard of Care Relating to Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Litigation, Mediation, and Arbitration of Fee Disputes
  • Assistance with Conflicts of Interest, Motions to Disqualify, and Motions to Withdraw
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Practice and Unlawful Practice of Law Issues
  • Law Firm Formation, Law Firm Dissolution, and Partnership Disputes
  • Law Corporations and Limited Liability Partnership Issues
  • Continuing Legal Education Programming
  • Legal Malpractice Evaluation, Defense and Prosecution

More about Jim Ham

Articles by Jim Ham

James I. Ham
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10.0James Irwin Ham