"The primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings conducted by the State Bar of California and of sanctions imposed . . . are the protection of the public, the courts and the legal profession; the maintenance of high professional standards by attorneys and the preservation of public confidence in the legal profession." (Standard 1.3; see also Garlow v. State Bar (1982) 30 Cal.3d 912, 916.)
"In deciding appropriate discipline, we consider the underlying misconduct and aggravating and mitigating circumstances, if any." (Blair v. State Bar, supra, 49 Cal.3d 762, 776.) "In a disciplinary proceeding, the deputy trial counsel must prove culpability and aggravating circumstances by clear and convincing evidence. (See In the Matter of Respondent H (Review Dept. 1992) 2 Cal.State Bar Ct. Rptr. 234, 239, and cases cited therein; Trans. Rules Proc. of State Bar, div. V, Standards for Atty. Sanctions for Prof. Misconduct ('stds.'), std. 1.2(b).) The attorney accused of misconduct must prove mitigating circumstances by clear and convincing evidence. (Std. 1.2(e).)"
To determine the appropriate level of discipline after these facts are established, we must look first to the Standards for guidance. "These guidelines are not binding on us, but they promote the consistent and uniform application of disciplinary measures. Hence, we have said that 'we will not reject a recommendation arising from application of the Standards unless we have grave doubts as to the propriety of the recommended discipline. . . .'" (In re Lamb, supra, 49 Cal.3d 239, 245 quoting Lawhorn v. State Bar (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1357, 1366.)
An errant attorney's ". . . assertion that no discipline should be imposed shows that he does not recognize his problems and that he may not correct them." (Blair v. State Bar, supra, 49 Cal.3d 762, 781-782.)