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You Need to Know

Register for the State Bar’s ethics symposium April 21

Registration is open for the State Bar’s 21st annual ethics symposium, set for  April 21 at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Sponsored by the State Bar of California’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC), the symposium provides advanced programs for attorneys in all practice areas who are interested in cutting-edge legal ethics issues.

Among the planned panel topics:

  • Analysis of the significant changes made by the proposed new rules of professional conduct
  • Recent developments concerning the attorney/client privilege
  • Ethics, civility and professionalism in the courtroom: a disciplinary perspective
  • Scope and limits of Evidence Code section 958

Attendees at the all-day event can earn five hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit in legal ethics. Register online. Questions may be addressed to Lauren McCurdy at 415-538-2107 or

Bar cards available for download or order

Starting this year, attorneys may conveniently order a plastic and/or paper bar card, online through My State Bar Profile after their payment has been processed by the State Bar billing office.

Log into your profile and go to the "Bar Card and Other Documents" heading, then "Get my Bar Card and Other Documents" and follow the prompts to request your plastic card. It can take up to three weeks for deliver so those who need one sooner should print a paper bar card.

A survey last year found that more than half of attorneys did not use the cards, so the State Bar discontinued the automatic mailing of plastic cards.

For questions, contact Member Records and Compliance-Member Services Center at or 1-888-800-3400.

Check out our legal ethics and technology resources

The State Bar’s Ethics Information page has an area dedicated to attorney ethics in the digital age.

The collection of resources address professional responsibility issues raised by the use of websites, email, chat rooms and other technologies. Resources include advisory ethics opinions, articles and MCLE programs.

The page is organized both by the type of resource (ethics opinion, article, etc.) and by subject matter (law firm websites, electronic files, social networking, etc.).

The resources focus on providing basic legal research leads on how the rules apply to new technologies rather than specific law office systems, hardware or software options. For the latter, see the resources in the State Bar’s Law Practice Management & Technology Section.

Register a law corporation

Law corporations are required to register with both the California Secretary of State and the State Bar of California under Corporations Code Section 13404. Registration requirements are set forth in Business & Professions Code Sections 6160 and 6161.

Information required to register a law corporation includes:

  • Proof of registration with the Secretary of State
  • Submission of bylaws and a sample share certificate containing the appropriate restrictions on share ownership
  • A completed application that reports all the attorneys who are associated with the corporation
  • Submission of the Guarantee for Claims in the appropriate amount
  • A Declaration of Compliance with Rule 1-400

Limited Liability Partnerships providing legal services are also required to register with the State Bar. If not registered, attorneys should be aware of California Corporations Code Section 16306(f), which specifically removes the protection from liability for claims based upon legal work.

Before registering with the Secretary of State, be sure to check with the State Bar to determine if the entity name complies with rules and has not already been registered. Additional information is available at the Law Corporations page, LLP page or the Law Office Management page. For questions or help, send an email to

Create a surrogacy agreement

A sample “Agreement to Close Law Practice in the Future” is available on the State Bar website for attorneys who want to plan for the possibility they will not be able to continue to work. The sample agreement, available to all lawyers, spells out the responsibilities of the primary attorney and his or her successor in the case of death or incapacity.

If a lawyer designates a successor using the new sample contract, the designated surrogate goes to court for appointment as the practice administrator who can take control and dispose of the practice. A lengthy list of duties is part of the contract and includes the ability to open mail, become a signatory on bank accounts, notify clients and transfer files, pay bills and handle funds and accept the original attorney’s clients and cases. The practice administrator also would have the power to sell the practice.

Feeling stressed? The Lawyer Assistance Program can help

Attorneys struggling to cope with the stress of a challenging economic environment, a health issue or a difficult employment situation are invited to contact the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP), which offers support programs in addition to its traditional help with substance abuse and depression. Support is offered for issues like stress, relationship and personal problems, grief and anxiety.

The LAP is designed for attorneys who might wish to participate in a weekly group with other lawyers and would like the support of a mental health professional (group facilitator) or a trained peer counselor who is familiar with attorneys’ particular challenges.

The LAP also offers a free Orientation and Assessment (O&A) to any attorney who wants professional assistance to cope with personal or work problems, substance abuse, health or mental health issues. The O&A provides a confidential assessment completed by one of the LAP clinicians located throughout the state. Referrals to outside resources and an opportunity to participate in a LAP group for a short period of time also are provided. There is no fee for this service.

Interested attorneys should call 877-LAP-4-HELP (877-527-4435) or contact All calls are confidential.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

Stay informed by following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ll give you a heads up about important regulatory information and let you know about other happenings at the State Bar. If you’re seeking information relevant to your particular practice area, the State Bar’s voluntary sections and the California Young Lawyers Association also have a presence on social media.

Opt out of sharing certain information

As of Jan. 1, 2016 the State Bar of California is subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). For more information regarding the impact of CPRA on the bar’s obligation to release member information, please log on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account information” and select “update my mailing preferences (opt out).”