Kendra Basner is an experienced litigator and certified specialist in legal malpractice law. She devotes her practice to counseling and advising lawyers, law firms, in-house corporate counsel, legal service providers and related businesses concerning legal ethics, risk management, and law practice planning and compliance with the unique perspective gained through advocating on behalf of lawyers in civil cases and State Bar discipline matters.
After beginning her legal career as a prosecutor, Ms. Basner was a partner at an Am Law 200 firm where she spent 13 years defending lawyers and other professionals in civil cases and disciplinary actions in addition to advising on legal ethics and risk management matters. She is certified as a specialist in legal malpractice law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Knowing and appreciating the true obstacles and risks that lawyers, law firms and legal services face allows Ms. Basner to target the issues and streamline the solutions to minimize the risk of liability.
Ms. Basner is a thought leader in legal ethics and law firm risk management both in California and nationally. She frequently speaks at local, national and international events on topics related to legal ethics, legal services, legal malpractice and law firm compliance; she regularly contributes to legal industry publications and resources; and she holds membership and leadership roles in some of the legal industry’s most important professional groups addressing the pressing issues that face law firms and legal services today, including serving as a member of the State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC); as an Editorial Board member of the ABA/BNA Lawyer’s Manual on Professional Conduct; as a Board member and Future of Lawyering Committee member for the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL); as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation; and a member of the Attorney Discipline Defense Counsel (ADDC). She is also a current member and the Immediate Past Chair of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s (BASF) Legal Ethics Committee, for which she was honored with BASF’s 2019 Award of Merit.
Prior to her legal career, Ms. Basner was an accomplished athlete. She was captain of the Division 1 Duke University Women’s Lacrosse Team, which competed in the NCAA Final Four. She has maintained her involvement in the sport through coaching and playing on club teams in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, San Francisco, Napa, and Marin, and previously served on the Ethics Committee for US Lacrosse. She currently volunteers as a coach for youth basketball and lacrosse clubs.
Legal Ethics Counsel
Ms. Basner represents attorneys, law firms, and legal service providers regarding attorney ethics issues, risk management, and compliance.
- Counsels and advises attorneys and law firms on legal ethics issues, including but not limited to, conflicts of interest, client confidentiality, attorney advertising & marketing, client solicitation, referrals and fee-sharing, fiduciary duties, fee and disclosure agreements, lawyer-client relationships, client communications, multi-jurisdictional practice, technology, cyber-security, and social media.
- Serves as an outside General Counsel to law firms, advising on legal ethics, attorney and law firm State Bar registration, compliance, fiduciary duties, disciplinary matters, civil actions, and practice planning and management.
- Works on the Firm’s legal ethics and risk management audit team for law firms and legal departments, identifying and implementing best practices and resolving potential ethics compliance and practice management issues.
- Counsels lawyer and/or non-lawyer providers of alternative access to legal service, including but not limited to, legal marketing and advertising services, online legal marketplaces, attorney directories, matching services, social media platforms and other such businesses in the legal industry.
- Contributes to the California Attorney Ethics Counsel blog, reporting on recent developments and providing practical analysis of important attorney ethics issues affecting the daily practice of attorneys, law firms, and legal departments.
Law Firm Advice and Planning
Ms. Basner provides advice and counsel to attorneys and law firms on a wide variety of strategic business issues and transitions, including partnership agreements and firm structure, law firm policies and procedures, law firm risk management, attorney advertising, law firm compensation systems, law firm start-up planning, law firm succession planning and law firm dissolution.
Law-Related Business Counsel
Ms. Basner provides advice and counsel to lawyer and/or non-lawyer owned businesses operating in the legal industry to improve access to justice for California consumers in compliance with applicable ethics rules and law. Technology has ushered in a new age of legal services and the legal marketplace is quickly expanding, offering unconventional avenues for connecting attorneys with consumers. Attorney participation in such endeavors requires compliance with ethical obligations.
O’Rielly & Roche has been on the forefront of this new era both inside and outside of the office, and uses this unique perspective to provide legal ethics and risk management consulting not only to the law firms and attorneys who participate in these services, but also to lawyer and/or non-lawyer owned ALSPs, as well as other related businesses and providers of alternative access to legal services, which may include, but is not limited to, legal marketing and advertising services; online legal marketplaces; attorney directories; matching services; social media platforms; and other such businesses operating in the legal industry.
Unlike many other legal ethics and risk management advisors, I have actually litigated legal malpractice claims and have fought on behalf of lawyers in State Bar disciplinary matters, so I know firsthand the liability risks faced by lawyers and law firms, enabling me to more effectively identify the issues and streamline my advice for efficient and practical solutions.”
J.D., Delaware Law School (Widener University), DE 2003
B.A., Psychology and History, Duke University, NC 1999
The State Bar of California Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC)
– Member, 2017–2020
Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF)
– Legal Ethics Committee, Chair, 2018 & 2019; Vice Chair, 2016 & 2017
Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL)
– President-Elect (2023-2024)
– Secretary (2022-2023)
– Treasurer (2021-2022)
– Board Member (2019-2021)
– Future of Lawyering Committee, Member
– Referral Fee & Non-Lawyer Fee Sharing Rule Drafting Subcommittee
ABA/BNA Lawyers’ Manual on Professional Conduct
– Editorial Board Member
American Bar Foundation
Association of Discipline Defense Counsel (ADDC)
American Bar Association (ABA)
California Lawyers Association (CLA)
– Civility Task Force, Member
National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)
“Selected Provisions in Attorney Fee Agreements: Permitted or Problematic?” Bar Association of San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
“Whose Law Is It Anyway: The Bounds of Rule 8.5 and its Impact On The Delivery of Legal Services,” APRL Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.
“Facts, Fictions and Future Steps in U.S. Regulatory Reform,” APRL Mid-Year Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana.
MCLE on Hot Legal Ethics Topics Presented with the BASF Legal Ethics Committee for the Bar Association of San Francisco
Partner Kendra Basner participated as a panelist at the 2022 Aon Law Firm Symposium in Chicago, Illinois, on the panel entitled “The Future is Here: Alternative Business Structures.”
Consequences for Incivility Coming Soon to California, Bar Association of San Francisco, The Bulletin and Online Blog
Use it or Lose It: Take Advantage of Your Annual Insurance Risk Management Budget, Bar Association of San Francisco, Legal Ethics Corner
Be Warned: CA In-House Corporate Counsel Must Register With State Bar, California Attorney Ethics Counsel Blog
The National Push to Change UPL Rule 5.5 Has Begun, California Attorney Ethics Counsel Blog
Sitting Where You Are Not Licensed, published by the Bar Association of San Francisco, Legal by the Bay blog
Selected to the Northern California Super Lawyers list by Super Lawyers Magazine (2021-2024).
Honored with the 2019 Award of Merit by the Bar Association of San Francisco
Named to “Who’s Who” by Top Attorneys of North America (2018-2019)
Top Women Lawyers of Northern California by San Francisco Magazine (2018)
Named “Rising Star” of Northern California by San Francisco Magazine (2015–2018)
Selected to the “Northern California Super Lawyers/Rising Stars List” by Super Lawyers Magazine (2015–2018)
Ms. Basner is featured by Susie Schnall in “The Balance Project.” A series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews with
inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance.
Coaches youth teams in the sports of basketball and lacrosse.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California