Special Master Rules
Penal Code 1524

Program Summary
The following are State Bar policies concerning the Special Master Program based upon State Bar Board of Trustees actions at meetings in January 1980 and May 1980:

  • Special Masters must be members of the State Bar for at least five years.
  • Special Master appointments are not limited to one year.
  • To avoid potential conflicts of interest, attorneys closely involved in the criminal law field are not eligible to serve as Special Masters. Attorneys closely involved in the criminal law field include public defenders, district attorneys, attorneys employed by the Attorney General's office, certified criminal law specialists, attorneys who are employees of law enforcement agencies, and attorneys who devote a substantial amount of time to criminal law practice.
  • Applicants for appointment as Special Masters, who are currently under investigation for an alleged violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, will not be appointed until such investigation is closed.
  • Applicants for appointment as Special Masters must not have been disciplined during the ten (10) years prior to the date of application.

Under Penal Code section 1524, the State Bar of California is responsible for maintaining a list of attorneys qualified to serve as "Special Masters" to accompany peace officers in conducting searches for documentary evidence under the control of attorneys, physicians, psychotherapists and clergy members.

The State Bar's responsibility, under Penal Code section 1524, is to maintain a current list of qualified attorneys. The list is available by county as a pdf. If you have difficulties downloading the PDF's, send email request to: