What is CAAP?
This is a confidential voluntary mediation process for fee disputes between you and your client which is provided and encouraged by the State Bar. Even though the CAAP program coordinator includes in all of her communications to you and to the client that the entire process is a confidential form of mediation, beware.
Breach of Confidentiality
If the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel (the people who go after you for grievance complaints) obtains your communications to your client (which they may get from your client if you don’t settle or if you say something that is self- incriminating), the Chief Disciplinary Counsel will try to breach the veil of confidentiality and use them against you in the grievance process. In other words, the communications solicited by CAAP and the dispute resolution process are NOT confidential as alleged by the CAAP program coordinator.
Recommendation to Avoid CAAP
Unfortunately, for this reason, we recommend that you avoid the entire CAAP mediated settlement process altogether. This is contrary to the State Bar’s desire. Do not communicate with CAAP by emails, letters, or voice messages. If you have to communicate for whatever reason, make absolutely certain that the communications are not self-incriminating (which is almost impossible to make certain). Because, if your communications are self-incriminating, the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel may try to use them against you in a grievance proceeding, even though the communications are supposed to be “confidential” and not subject to publication because they were made in the process of settlement through mediation.
The lesson to learn; CAAP could be a trap.