On Friday, May 19, 2023, the Supreme Court of California suspended attorney Paal Hjalmar Bakstad for violating the vehicle code.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Paal Hjalmar Bakstad” with case no. S278995.

The respondent was accused of engaging in improper behavior by breaching the regulations outlined in the Vehicle Code. This misconduct specifically involved operating a vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration equal to or exceeding 0.08%.

The transmittal of records of conviction states:

“Crime(s) of which convicted and classification(s): Violation of Vehicle Code 523152(b), driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more, a misdemeanor which may or may not involve moral turpitude as in (In re Kelley (1990) 52 Ca;/3d 487.) ] 3. Compliance with Rule 9.20. (Applicable only if checked.) We bring to the Court’s attention that, should the Court enter an order of interim suspension herein, the Court may wish to require the above-named attorney to comply with the provisions of rule 9.20, California Rules of Court, paragraph (a), within 30 days of the effective date of any such order; and to file the affidavit with the Clerk of the State Bar Court provided for in paragraph (c) of rule 9.20 within 40 days of the effective date of said order, showing the attorney’s compliance with the provisions of rule 9.20.”

In response, the respondent filed his answer to the notice of hearing of conviction stating that he respectfully requests referral to the alternative discipline program, with active status.

The answer states:

“Pursuant to Rules 5.380 et seq., I respectfully request a referral to the Alternative Discipline Program (ADP), with Active status. I request such referral in this case, as well as in Cases and the anticipated fourth case. I am currently enrolled in the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP).”

In relation to this issue, the Supreme Court of California decided to suspend the respondent from the practice of law.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that Paal Hjalmar Bakstad (Respondent), State Bar Number 213630, is suspended from the practice of law in California for one year, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and Respondent is placed on probation for eighteen months.”

As of today, Mr. Bakstad is listed in the law firm Tharpe & Howell, LLP as a practicing attorney. He attended the Loyola Law School, in Los Angeles graduating in 2000. He practices in Los Angeles, California. He is licensed in California. His info can be found on Linkedin.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.