“All professions are conspiracies against the laity.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Major Barbara
This famous quote from Shaw pretty much sums up the role of State Bars in disciplining errant lawyers. It seems that in the modern USA, only a conviction of something mega-serious like embezzlement or felonious conduct will get a lawyer disbarred at state level. Certainly, scumbaggery and ethically challenged behavior does not qualify most of the time in most states.
The good news is that one of the principals of the defunct legal entity Prenda Law, a copyright troll firm, has essentially agreed to a plea bargain with the Minnesota State Bar, under which he is barred from practising law in that state for a minimum of 4 years.
However, elsewhere, the culture of impunity appears to be alive and well.
This article about the copyright troll company Righthaven, which was shut down in late 2011 after losing a collection of lawsuits against it, is illustrative. Righthaven was clearly a sleazy and unethical enterprise from the very beginning, and its principals were adjudged to have deceived the court system on multiple occasions. Yet attempts to have the principals of Righthaven disciplined by the Nevada State Bar went nowhere. The bar brazenly bullshitted about the conduct of Righthaven, finding that there was no malfeasance even when the court system clearly pointed it out.