The North Carolina State Bar was created in 1933 by the North Carolina General Assembly as the government agency responsible for the regulation of the legal profession in North Carolina. The State Bar currently regulates over 30,000 licensed lawyers. Protection of the public and protection of our system of justice are the objectives of regulation.
The North Carolina State Bar is governed by a 61-member council whose members are lawyers elected by the lawyers in their home communities. The public’s interests are represented by three members of the council who are not lawyers and who are appointed by the governor and other elected officials. Four officers are elected by the members of the council to provide leadership. The daily operations of the State Bar are carried out by a staff of over 90 lawyers and nonlawyers.
How We're Funded
The revenue to operate the State Bar comes from annual dues that must be paid by every active member of the State Bar. Tax revenue from the general citizenry of the state is not used to operate the State Bar.
What We Do
The key regulatory responsibility of the State Bar is the investigation and prosecution of lawyers who violate the State Bar’s code of ethics for lawyers. For information about the investigation and prosecution of a disciplinary action, filing a complaint against a lawyer, alternatives to filing a complaint, and disciplinary actions against specific lawyers, go to the "Lawyer Discipline" section of this website.
In addition to lawyer discipline, the State Bar’s regulatory activities include: promoting the competency of lawyers and paralegals; adopting the code of ethics for lawyers (known as “The Rules of Professional Conduct”); counseling lawyers on how to follow the Rules; resolving fee disputes between lawyers and clients; preventing the practice of law by people who are not licensed; compensating clients who were the victims of lawyer theft (see Financial Theft by a Lawyer); and advancing the administration of justice.
We Are Not the North Carolina Bar Association
The North Carolina State Bar and the North Carolina Bar Association are separate and distinct organizations. The State Bar is a government agency. All licensed North Carolina lawyers must be members of the State Bar. The North Carolina Bar Association is a non-governmental, voluntary, professional organization that lawyers may join, but they are not required to do so to practice law in North Carolina. The Bar Association provides programs and services that promote the legal profession, assist its lawyer-members, and advance the administration of justice.
Where We Are
The main office of the State Bar is located in downtown Raleigh, on E. Edenton Street, near the appellate court houses and other government buildings. Click here for directions.