Carole J. Buckner

Senior Counsel

Carole J. Buckner is Senior Counsel in Klinedinst’s San Diego office. Her law experience focuses on litigation in business, employment, real estate and professional liability matters, including internal investigations. She has first chair trial experience in state and federal courts, including jury trials, as well as arbitration and mediation. She has advanced experience in legal ethics, professional responsibility, the law of lawyering, and risk management, including advising law firms and lawyers, and rendering expert opinions on matters involving legal ethics. She also has also served as an arbitrator and mediator. Ms. Buckner has also served as general counsel, managing outside counsel and coordinating with insurance issues. 

She has over five years of experience in the general counsel role for a large law firm, over 10 years experience representing lawyers and law firms in legal ethics and professional responsibility, 15 years of civil legal experience including litigation involving business and real estate disputes, legal malpractice and employment litigation, over 15 years of experience as a legal educator, and over three years of experience as a federal prosecutor. She has served as a neutral handling arbitration since 2016 and mediation since 2020.

Ms. Buckner was a member of the California State Bar’s Committee on Professionalism and Conduct (COPRAC) starting in 2005. She served as COPRAC chair in 2009-2010, and later as the Special Advisor to the Committee. She is a member and former Co-Chair of the Professionalism and Ethics Committee of the Orange County Bar Association, and a member and former chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee (PREC). Ms. Buckner currently serves as a member of the San Diego County Bar Association’s Legal Ethics Committee.

Ms. Buckner has spoken and written extensively on a wide variety of ethics related topics. Through COPRAC, the LACBA, SDCBA, OCBA, PLI, CEB, and other organizations, she has spoken at the State Bar’s Annual Ethics Symposiums, State Bar Annual Meetings, bar association MCLE programs, and in other venues on a wide variety of ethics related topics including attorneys’ fees, the California Rules of Professional Conduct, client trust accounting, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, screening, judicial recusal, lawyer advertising, collaborative law, prosecutorial misconduct, ethical issues arising from lawyer impairment, and more.

She is listed in Best Lawyers in America®, and was selected the Lawyer of the Year for Ethics and Professional Responsibility for 2023, and has achieved the highest AV®-Preeminent™ rating by Martindale-Hubbell.


  • Pepperdine University, Caruso School of Law, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Mediating the Litigation Case (2020)
  • UC College of the Law, San Francisco (J.D. 1984)
  • University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1980)