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Opening and Managing a Law Office

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The State Bar’s Law Corporations Program certifies professional corporations that wish to practice law in accordance with applicable statutes and court rules. The program monitors compliance with those provisions.

Find the forms you need on the forms page of the State Bar website.

Common reasons for returned applications

Incorrect bylaws language
Refer to the Law Corporation Rules of the State Bar and use the exact language from Rule 3.157, paragraphs A – E, in the portions of your bylaws that pertain to ownership and transfer of shares in the corporation. Attach only the portions of the law corporation’s bylaws which contain this language. Do not submit your entire set of bylaws.

Incorrect and unsigned certificate of secretary
A declaration by the secretary of the corporation must be submitted with the required portions of the bylaws to certify that they are true and correct excerpts of the bylaws of the corporation. Signature of the corporate Secretary must be original.

Photocopied Secretary of State forms
You must attach an original certified copy of the Articles of Incorporation from the Secretary of State. If the corporation was incorporated in a jurisdiction outside California, you must attach an original Certificate of Status of Foreign Corporation from the Secretary of State. Photocopies of Secretary of State documents cannot be accepted.

Law corporation name
The name of your law corporation in State Bar records (and on file with the Secretary of State) is the only name under which it may practice law. Rule 3.152-B of the Law Corporation Rules requires that the name “complies with the California Rules of Professional Conduct and that the name includes wording or abbreviations denoting corporate existence…” Please refer to the excerpt from California Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400. If you are not sure the name of your law corporation complies with Rule 1-400, contact the State Bar of California at 1-888-800-3400 or review Law Corporation Name Definitions & Abbreviations for frequent name issues.

Find a form to report changes to your law corporation registration
Revoking a law corporation
Which records are public

Related links

California Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1-400. Advertising and Solicitation.
Law Corporation Rules of the State Bar of California

Contact us
Law Corporations Program
The State Bar of California
180 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94105

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