LOS ANGELES — Attorney Gerald Howard Sternberger received one
year of probation from the State Bar Court of California for failure
to meet the required hours for minimum continuing legal education.
Sternberger, whose address on his State Bar profile page
is in Hazel Park, Michigan, was first licensed to practice in
California in 1980.
stated that Sternberger, under penalty of perjury, claimed on Jan.
31, 2014, that he had completed the necessary 25 hours during the
compliance period of Feb. 1, 2011, and Jan. 31, 2014. The attorney
had not completed any of the hours at the time. Sternberger did not
provide any documentation for the hours. The State Bar’s Office of
Member Records and Compliance contacted the attorney about his hours
on July 7, 2014. Sternberger completed the hours between Oct. 27,
2014, and Oct. 31, 2014.
The State Bar took into account several mitigating factors when
determining the severity of Sternberger’s sentence. The attorney
has no prior record of discipline since being admitted to the
California State Bar following his graduation from the San Fernando
Valley College of Law, according to his profile page.
The final mitigating factor in the case, according to court
involved Sternberger’s medical condition at the time of his
submission of compliance. Sternberger relayed that on May 4, 2012, he
suffered an electrocution burn from a heating pad that left him
bedridden for an extended period of time. In addition, Sternberger
was prescribed several painkillers leaving him dazed and lightheaded,
which was directly connected to his lack of documentation for the
MCLE about the situation.
During the attorney’s one-year probation, Sternberger 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 need to be provided to the office within 10 business days.
Sternberger must set up an appointment with the Office of Probation
within the first 30 days of his probation.
The terms of Sternberger’s probation also require him to
complete Ethics School, though he will not be credited with MCLE
hours. Sternberger must take and pass the Multistate Professional
Responsibility Examination. Failure to pass the MPRE or adhere to any
of the terms of his probation will result in a one year suspension
Sternberger will be responsible for covering all court costs,
which at the time of sentencing totaled $5,816. The costs are subject
to increase, in which case Sternberger will need to pay the
Sternberger has been practicing law for more than 25 years.
The California State Bar was established in 1927 by the state’s
legislature and is governed by 19 trustees. The State Bar Court added
appointed full-time judges in 1989. Court documents for all State Bar
Court of California cases, as well as more about the organization's
history, can be found online at calbar.ca.gov.