David Cameron Carr serves as Senior Counsel in the Legal Ethics and Law Firm Risk Management Practice Group. Over three decades, he has established a reputation as one of California’s preeminent ethics lawyers, a trusted counselor, and an advocate for hundreds of California lawyers and law firms. Mr. Carr’s practice addresses a broad range of legal ethics issues including discipline defense, bar admissions, reinstatement, attorney fee disputes, legal ethics advice, conflicts and disqualification, and law firm risk management. He also serves as an expert witness in matters involving legal ethics issues.
Following several years of practice in commercial law and business litigation, Mr. Carr joined the State Bar of California as a staff attorney in 1989 and served as a discipline prosecutor between 1992 and 1999. After five years trying discipline, admissions, and reinstatement cases before the State Bar Court Hearing Dept., he began to specialize in appellate advocacy before the State Bar Court’s Review Dept., resulting in ten published decisions between 1997 and 2000. In 1999, Mr. Carr became a manager in the discipline prosecutor’s office, managing a trial team of ten attorneys and support staff. In this position, he also worked on discipline policy issues as the Chief Trial Counsel’s liaison with the State Bar’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) and the State Bar Court Executive Committee.
In 2001, Mr. Carr returned to private practice. Since that time, he has represented lawyers in all aspects of the discipline system, from preliminary inquiries to State Bar investigations, litigation, and trial in the State Bar Court Hearing Dept. and appeals to the Review Dept. and the California Supreme Court. He is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried dozens of cases in the State Bar Court Hearing Dept. on both sides. He is also an experienced appellate advocate who has argued many cases before the State Bar Court Review Dept. Mr. Carr is a formidable negotiator who utilizes his long experience and deep knowledge of the discipline process to reach the best possible result for his client.
Applicants for bar admission often need help navigating the opaque California admissions process. Mr. Carr has helped over a hundred bar applicants present through that maze to be successfully admitted to the practice of law. He also provides advice and consultation to lawyers and law firms on legal ethics and professional responsibility. The range of possible issues involve:
- Conflict waivers
- Fee agreements
- Fee disputes
- Attorney advertising and marketing
- Compliance review of advertising material
- Entity formation and law corporation rules
- Ethical compensation arrangements with lawyers and non-lawyers
- Termination of representation issues
- Client trust accounting issues
- Unauthorized practice of law issues
- Multi-jurisdictional practice issues
- Ethical law office management
Mr. Carr’s legal advice comes from his practice as a discipline defense lawyer, a rule-based approach that emphasizes risk management principles that apply to lawyers at all practice environments, from solo practice lawyer to big firm lawyer, private lawyer to government lawyer.
Mr. Carr has a long history of active involvement in the legal ethics community. While a discipline prosecutor, he was active in the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC) and served on NOBC’s advisory committee to the American Bar Association’s McKay Commission on discipline enforcement in 1991. He is currently a member of the San Diego County Bar Association where he is an active member of the Legal Ethics Committee and the co-author of two legal ethics opinions. Mr. Carr is also a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) and the Association of Discipline Defense Counsel, where he served as President from 2008 to 2011.
Consistent with his commitment to service in the legal community, Mr. Carr is an active educator and presents educational programs on a regular basis in the area of legal ethics, often in conjunction with the Legal Ethics Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association.