Carole J. Buckner
Partner and General Counsel
525 B Street, Suite 2200
San Diego, CA 92101
Practice Areas

Admissions: California

Professional Summary

Carole’s practice focuses on legal ethics, professional responsibility and the law of lawyering, including advising lawyers and law firms, and rendering expert opinions.  She has an extensive background in civil business litigation and is a former federal prosecutor.  Carole is a seasoned lawyer and experienced legal educator with a wide range of practical and academic experience.

Representative Matters

  • Expert witness on legal ethics issues concerning legal fee arrangements and billing
  • Expert witness on conflicts of interest and withdrawal from representation
  • Expert witness on fee sharing, referral fees, conflicts of interest and the unauthorized practice of law in class action
  • Consulting expert on fee sharing, structured settlement, modification of fee agreement, and conflicts of interest
  • Advice to lawyers and law firms regarding legal fee disputes, billing and conflicts of interest
  • Advice to lawyers regarding client trust accounting
  • Advice to lawyers on risk management and mitigation
  • Advice to lawyers regarding State Bar investigations and moral character issues
  • Advice to lawyers regarding lawyer advertising
  • Arbitrator in mandatory fee arbitration


  • AV Rated in Martindale-Hubbell
  • “Top Lawyers,” San Diego Magazine, 2018


  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) Committee on the Future of Lawyering - Member
  • San Diego County Bar Association - Legal Ethics Committee – Member
  • California State Bar, Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) – Former and Past Chair
  • LA County Bar Assoc. – Professional Responsibility & Ethics Committee - Member & Past Chair
  • Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) – Member
  • Orange County Bar Association Professionalism & Ethics Committee – Co-Chair
  • California State Bar, Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration – Member


  • JD, University of California, Hastings College of Law, 1984
  • BA, University of California, Berkeley w/Honors, 1980

News Coverage

  • “Procopio Elevates Partners,” San Diego Daily Transcript, January 16, 2018.
  • Sarah de Crescenzo.“Procopio Ushers in Leadership Changes in New Year,” San Diego Business Journal, January 3, 2018.
  • “On the Move,” Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 5, 2017.


  • "San Diego County Bar Association Summer Series on Navigating the Changes to the Rules of Professional Responsibility, Program 1: Attorney Client Relationship," San Diego, CA, June 8, 2018.
  • “Legal Ethics for Immigration Lawyers,” San Diego Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, San Diego, Ca, March 21, 2018.
  • “Ethical Considerations of Representing Entities and their Members and Officers in Real Estate Transactions,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, May 2017
  • “Attorneys’ Fees and Ethics:  It Pays to be Reasonable,” National Association of Legal Fee Analysis, Webinar, April 27, 2017
  • “Ethical Issues Arising Out of Representation of Title Insurers and Insureds,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, March 21, 2017
  •  “Recent Decisions and Guidance on Billing Legal Fees,” Orange County Paralegal Association, Irvine, CA, February 23, 2017.
  • “You Can’t Go Wrong – Ethics + Competence + Elimination of Bias,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, February 25, 2017.
  • “The Ethical Use of Expert Witnesses,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, January 14, 2017,
  • “Ethics and Competence for Immigration Attorneys,” Orange County Bar Association Immigration Law Section Meeting, January 13, 2017
  • “Ethics Update 2016,” Orange County Bar Association, December 3, 2016
  • “Legal Ethics, Social Media and Jury Trials,” Long Beach Bar Association, October 10, 2016
  • “Protecting and Collecting Legal Fees, An Attorney’s Guide to Fee Arbitration, Collecting Fees and Ethical Issues,” State Bar of California Annual Meeting, Sand Diego, October 1, 2016
  • “Client Trust Accounting Demystified,” CEB Webinar, August 17, 2016


  • “Excessive Deposition Delays Without Sufficient Justification Leads to Terminating Sanctions,” Ethics in Brief, San Diego County Bar Association, January 2018.
  • “The Disappearing Attorney-Client Privilege,” Orange County Lawyer Magazine, April 2017
  • Co-author. “Ethical Billing Practices Avoid Problems Collecting Fees,” California Bar Journal, MCLE, December 2016.
  • “Ethical Billing of Attorneys Fees,” Los Angeles County Bar Association Update, July 2016.
  • “Forfeiture of Fees Due to Conflict of Interest,” Orange County Lawyer Magazine, April 2016.
  • “Avoiding the Unauthorized Practice of Law,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, Update, August 2015.
  • “Ethically Speaking: Protecting Judicial Impartiality,” Orange County Lawyer Magazine, April 2015.
  • “Legal Ethics & Cloud Computing,” Los Angeles County Bar Association, Update, December 2014.