LOS ANGELES — The State Bar Court of California recently
sentenced Berkeley attorney Eric Martin Sippel, 55, to one year of
probation for failure to comply with the minimum continuing legal
education hours required to keep his license in good standing.
The probation took effect Nov. 18, according to the State Bar
showed that Sippel, under penalty of perjury, claimed on Jan. 29,
2014, that he had completed the necessary 25 hours during the
compliance period of Feb. 1, 2011, and Jan. 31, 2014. Sippel did not
provide any documentation for the hours which the State Bar Court
deemed “grossly negligent.”
The State Bar’s Office of Member Records and Compliance
contacted the attorney about his hours on July 7, 2014. Between the
contact date and Aug. 1, 2014, Sippel completed all 25 hours.
The State Bar took several mitigating factors into consideration
when placing Sippel on probation. Sippel has no prior record of
discipline by the State Bar since he was admitted in 1991 following
graduation from the Stanford University School of Law, according to
his State Bar profile page.
Sippel’s nearly 23-year history without misconduct indicates that
further missteps are unlikely to occur.
Sippel also provided proof of his community service to the State
Bar. Sippel sits on the board of directors for the East Bay United
Soccer Club, a program where 25 percent of the players receive
need-based scholarships, according to the organization's website.
Sippel has devoted 30-60 hours per week to the organization since
2010, court documents said.
Sippel’s candor and cooperation also were taken into account.
Since the attorney responded to the State Bar’s inquiry admitting
that he had not kept adequate records for his MCLE hours, court
documents stated that Sippel was owed mitigating credit. Lastly,
Sippel entered into a pretrial stipulation preventing the need for a
formal hearing, which saved the State Bar Court time and resources.
During the attorney’s one-year probation, Sippel will need to
submit quarterly reports of his business dealings to the Office of
Probation. Any updates to his personal or professional situations
will also have to be provided to the office within 10 business days.
Sippel must set up an appointment with the Office of Probation within
the first 30 days of his probation.
The terms of Sippel’s probation also require him to complete
Ethics School, though he will not be credited with MCLE hours. In
addition, Sippel must take and pass the Multistate Professional
Responsibility Examination. A one-year suspension without hearing
will be assessed for failure to pass the MPRE or adhere to any of the
terms of his probation.
Sippel will be responsible for covering all court costs, which at
the time of sentencing totaled $3,139. The costs are subject to
increase, in which case Sippel will need to pay the additional fees.
Court documents for all State Bar Court of California cases and
information on bar members can be found online at calbar.ca.gov.