How to tell if an attorney is really a Santa Clara County attorney
You might think that determining if an attorney really does most of his/her cases in Santa Clara County is an easy thing to do. But, as Manti T’eo discovered, with the internet, sometimes things are not what they appear to be.
So why should you care if an attorney practices primarily in Santa Clara County or not? Family law is it’s own little area of state law, and the rules of court are different for every county. The judges are different in each county. Each judge may be unbiased and impartial, but they still have preferences as to how a case should be presented. Some judges don’t mind an attorney being a little confrontational, others like to exercise control. The attorney has to know when to keep talking and when to stand down. So being unfamiliar with the rules of court or how the judges approach cases can negatively impact the outcome of your case.
There are two easy online means of determining whether or not an attorney practices in Santa Clara County. The 1st place to check is the State Bar web site, http://www.calbar.ca.gov/
There is a box on the left-hand side labeled “Attorney Search”. Just input the attorney’s name, hit enter and the State Bar will take you to a link that shows the attorney’s name, status, bar number, city where the attorney told the State Bar was his/her primary location and admission date, which is the date the attorney was allowed to practice law in California. You can click on link for the attorney to see more information, including any disciplinary proceedings against the attorney.
But just because the city listed by the State Bar is not in Santa Clara County does not necessarily mean the attorney doesn’t practice here. A southern California city name might raise some legitimate concerns, but a city like San Mateo probably is not that big of a problem.
But you can check online just how many cases an attorney has in Santa Clara County at http://www.sccaseinfo.org/
When you go to that website, hold the cursor over “Civil Calendar” and select “Attorney” from the drop-down menu. That will take you to a page that asks for an attorney’s first and last name. Input the name of the attorney you wish to check. In addition, below the name, it has a section to input “Calendared Between” dates. Initially both dates are today’s date, which is fine for the initial date. But you need to change the second date to a date in the future, maybe a month or two or three ahead, and then hit the “Search” button.
This will take you to a link showing the attorney’s name, and if you click on the link it will show you how many matters the attorney has scheduled before the court in Santa Clara County.
If the name entered is for an associate attorney, then they may not be listed as THE attorney. So for associate attorneys, http://www.sccaseinfo.org/ may not be that reliable an indicator. For instance, in our firm, Marilyn Moreno is often the attorney listed, even if an associate attorney is handling most of the case.