Enjoy a week in ‘Legal London’
Want to visit London and learn about the inner workings of the
English legal system? Now in its 26th year, the Litigation Section
is hosting “A Week in Legal London,” April 19 through 24, 2015, giving participants
the chance to expand their litigation skills and engage in thought-provoking
discussions with members of the London legal community.
Participants will attend sessions at the Supreme Court, the Royal Courts of
Justice, and the Old Bailey, and attend luncheons at the
historic Inns of Courts generally only open to the British legal community. The
week concludes with a gala dinner in the House of Lords private dining room.
In an effort to keep the program intimate, the cap on participants
is 60, so register early. Go to www.aweekinlegallondon.com for additional information about educational programs,
registration and travel arrangements.
For questions, contact Michelle McFadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-278-3641.
Display your artistic talent at the State Bar Annual
Meeting Bench and Bar Art Exhibit
All members of the bench and bar who draw, sculpt, work in
ceramics or photography are invited to participate in the 2014 State Bar Annual
Meeting Bench and Bar Art Exhibit. The artwork will be showcased at the 2014
State Bar Annual Meeting, Sept. 11-14, in San Diego.
Art show rules and entry forms can be downloaded from the Annual Meeting Web page or by emailing
the art show coordinator at AnnualMeeting@calbar.ca.gov.
Entries must be submitted by Aug. 11, 2014.
Invitation to comment on judicial ethics opinion regarding small
The California Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics
Opinions is inviting the public to comment on a draft advisory opinion that
gives judges guidance on accepting small gifts. The draft opinion advises that
small value items such as gift cards and baseball caps are gifts under the Code
of Judicial Ethics and may not be accepted if they are offered by a party who
has or is likely to appear before the judge, if it creates a perception of
influence or favor, or if the gift giver would reasonably believe it would give
him or her an advantage. The opinion notes that items of little or nominal
value that are not otherwise banned may be accepted under the ordinary social
The draft opinion and invitation to comment are posted on the committee’s website. The deadline to comment is Aug. 8, 2014.
Comments may be submitted using an online comment
form, by email to Judicial.Ethics@jud.ca.gov, or mailed to Nancy Black, committee counsel, The California
Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Ethics opinions, 350 McAllister St., San
Francisco, CA 94012.
Bar foundation launches first crowd
The California Bar Foundation is
launching its first crowd funding effort to raise money for its Public Interest
Bar Exam Scholarships. The community effort will help graduating California law
students committed to public interest practice (nonprofit, legal services) by
providing a no-cost BarBri Bar Review course and a stipend for living expenses
as they prepare to take and pass the California Bar Exam.
This unique initiative is the only crowd funding community
effort designed to help aspiring public interest attorneys. Several leading law
firms are making gifts to the initiative.
Committed to public interest practice? Want to see more than one
public interest attorney for every 800 Californians? Join the crowd funding
campaign today by visiting the website.
someone committed to public interest law practice
The California Bar Foundation offers family, friends and
colleagues the opportunity to remember recently departed individuals who have
demonstrated a commitment to public interest practice by underwriting its
Public Interest Bar Exam Scholarship in the individual’s memory.
The scholarship helps an aspiring public interest attorney
studying for the California Bar Exam by providing a no-cost BarBri bar review course
and a stipend for living expenses while studying for and taking the bar exam.
Those interested in setting up a Public Interest Bar Exam
Scholarship Memorial Fund may contact Joe Swimmer at 415-856-0780 or email@example.com.
Serve on the California Bar
The California Bar Foundation invites applications for open
positions on its board of directors for terms beginning Jan. 1, 2015. Ideal
candidates will be attorneys, judges or members of the public with a
demonstrated interest in and commitment to the purposes and goals of the
foundation. Applicants must have previous board, public or community service
experience, and be knowledgeable about and comfortable with charitable
The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As the
center of philanthropy for California’s legal profession, and with strong ties
to the State Bar of California, the California Bar Foundation mobilizes and
leverages the financial resources of individuals, law firms, corporations and
foundations to build a better justice system for all Californians. More
information is available at www.calbarfoundation.org.
The board of directors consists of up to 35 members and three ex
officio members. Appointed members serve two-year terms and are expected to
attend four board meetings per year while actively participating in up to three
board committees. Board meetings alternate between San Francisco and Los
Angeles, while most committee meetings are conducted by conference call.
Each board member is expected to make a personally meaningful
financial contribution to the California Bar Foundation and to actively
participate in fundraising from personal and professional contacts on behalf of
Complete applications must be submitted via email to Carlos Aguilar by 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15. A complete application
includes a resume or CV and a statement of interest and qualifications.
The California Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors will approve
a slate of new director candidates during its fall board meeting.
affects immigration attorneys
Attorneys and immigration consultants are prohibited from
collecting money for services related to federal immigration reform until
Congress acts under a State Bar-sponsored bill that went into effect last fall.
The consumer protection legislation, authored by Assemblywoman
Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, was introduced in response to reports from law
enforcement that the federal debate over immigration reform was prompting scams
aimed at undocumented immigrants.
The legislation, which went into effect upon Gov. Jerry Brown’s
signature Oct. 5, also:
- Requires attorneys and immigration consultants to account for
any money already accepted for immigration reform services and either refund
the money or deposit it in a client trust account.
- Requires attorneys to inform clients receiving immigration
reform act services where they can report complaints. A notice for attorneys to use has been
posted on the State Bar’s website and has been translated into multiple
- Increases the amount of bond that immigration consultants must
carry from $50,000 to $100,000 as of July 1.
- Prohibits the use of the term “notario,” which has been
misconstrued as someone who is qualified to give legal advice.
- Provides that a person who violates the ban on the use of the
term “notario” is subject to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 a day for each
judicial office? Take this mandatory free course
California judges and lawyers seeking a judicial office must
take a new online judicial ethics course within 60 days of filing for office,
creating a campaign committee or receiving a campaign contribution. The mandatory
judicial ethics course went online last month.
The course was developed by a working group of justices, judges
and lawyers after the Supreme Court adopted the mandatory rule, along with
other changes to the California Code of Judicial Ethics, almost a year ago. The Rules of Professional Conduct require a lawyer candidate for judicial office to comply with
the Code of Judicial Ethics.
“The Supreme Court changed the rules to promote and enhance
public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and to
provide guidance on the ethical obligations and responsibilities of those
running for judicial office,” Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye said.
The rule came out of the work of the Commission
for Impartial Courts.
Time is money and legal research takes time. California legal
ethics research can be particularly time-consuming. First, California is not an
ABA Model Rule jurisdiction, so dusting off your law school textbook or simply
Googling won’t always cut it. On top of that, the applicable California law is
often found in multiple sources, many of which are unfamiliar to most lawyers.
If you consult the California Rules of Professional Conduct, that’s great, but you can’t stop there. Consider the following
- May an attorney use inadvertently disclosed confidential
- Does the “no contact” rule permit an attorney to imply opposing
- Is a “virtual law office” an ethical alternative for starting a
You can get assistance in researching these questions by calling
the State Bar of California’s Ethics
Hotline. This call-back service is free, staffed by
live people and typically has a turnaround time of one business day or less.
If you’ve never tried calling the Ethics Hotline, here’s the
official pitch: The Ethics Hotline is a confidential telephone research service
for attorneys. This service is staffed by specially trained paralegals who can
refer callers to the California Rules of Professional Conduct, State Bar Act
sections, published bar association ethics opinions and other relevant
authorities. Although the Ethics Hotline does not render opinions or give
advice, this guidance serves as a valuable resource that can jump-start legal
ethics research and aid lawyers in making informed decisions about their legal
Attorneys can reach the Ethics Hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
weekdays by calling 800-238-4427 (800-2-ETHICS) from within California, or
415-538-2150 when calling from outside of California.
form for fee disputes with clients
As of July 1, attorneys who encounter a fee dispute with a
client are required to use the State Bar’s updated version of the Notice of Client’s Right to Fee Arbitration form.
The form, approved by the State Bar Board of Trustees on March
7, incorporates a handful of changes, including clarifying who can request fee
arbitration and making it clear that more than one bar association may have
jurisdiction to hear a fee dispute. The new version also contains the State Bar
seal, a change made to ensure lawyers are providing clients with the correct
Business and Professions Code § 6201(a) requires that lawyers
send the notice to their clients before or at the time of initiating a lawsuit,
or other action to collect fees. Attorneys are legally required to use the
State Bar’s form – not their own version put on their firm’s letterhead.
Mandatory fee arbitration is designed to reduce the number of
fee disputes that end up in court. The vast majority of fee disputes handled
through the mandatory fee arbitration process are resolved without filing an
action in superior court, saving the courts valuable time and money, said Doug
Hull, director of the State Bar’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration Program.
voice heard in evaluating judges
The State Bar commission that evaluates the governor’s
candidates for judgeships is seeking the help of attorneys to solicit
For more than 30 years, the Commission on Judicial Nominees
Evaluation, commonly known as the JNE (“Jenny”) Commission, has gathered
information about candidates by mailing paper comment forms to attorneys.
During the past few years, the commission has successfully implemented the use
of email to gather comments, but continues to encounter one barrier: the spam
filter. Most of JNE’s emails do reach their intended recipients. However, some
Attorneys can solve this problem by authorizing the spam filters
serving their email address listed with the State Bar to accept the following
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who work in legal offices, public agencies and the court
system can help by asking their IT specialists to authorize the JNE email
address for all spam filters serving office computers.
The electronic comment forms are identical to the written forms.
A hyperlink in the email takes the commenter to a website where a form
identical to the written comment form can be completed electronically. The
electronic comments are maintained confidentially, with access only by
investigating commissioners and staff. The use of email appears to result in
response rates at least as high as the use of written forms. It has proven to
be a cost-effective and efficient method of transmitting time-sensitive,
Questions and comments about the process can be directed to email@example.com.
book available for e-Reader
To facilitate a lawyer’s ability to readily identify and address
legal ethics issues, the State Bar has published an e-Reader version of the
Rules of Professional Conduct and the State Bar Act. The e-Reader version of
the rule book is compatible with the Kindle Reader App, a free e-Reader
application available for iPads, iPhones, Blackberry phones, Android phones,
MacBooks and PC laptops. The book also works on all versions of Amazon.com’s
The 2014 edition of the e-Reader
version of the rule bookcan be purchased at
Amazon.com for $6.99, a significant discount from the price of the hardcopy
book. It offers several useful features including a search function,
bookmarking, highlighting and annotating. In addition, once downloaded to a
tablet, smart phone or other compatible device, the book can be accessed at any
time, even without an Internet or cellular data signal.
The bar’s rule book has been published for more than 65 years.
The 30-page edition published in 1949 has grown to 411 hard copy pages. In
addition to the rules and State Bar Act, the book includes other related
authorities such as selected Rules of Court, code sections, the Federal
Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule, the State Bar Pro Bono Resolution,
the Lawyer Referral Service rules, MCLE rules and more.
and technology resource page is online
The general Ethics
Information page on the State Bar website has an
area dedicated to Ethics and Technology ― a
collection of resources that address professional responsibility issues raised
by the use of websites, email, chat rooms and other technologies. The resources
include advisory ethics opinions, articles and MCLE programs.
Most of the resources are internal links to other pages on the
bar’s website and some are external links to local or specialty bar
associations. 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 service focuses 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, the resources of the
State Bar’s Law Practice Management & Technology Section can be considered.
Law corporations are required to register with both the
California Secretary of State and the State Bar of California under
Corporations Code §13404. Registration requirements are set forth in
Business& Professions Code §§6160 and 6161.
Rules and application materials are available on the State Bar
website. 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
particularly aware of California Corporations Code § 16306(f), which
specifically removes the protection from liability for claims based upon legal
Prior to 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 LLP@calbar.ca.gov
An “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 will have the power to sell the
stressed? The Lawyer Assistance Program can help
Attorneys struggling to cope with the stress of a challenging
economic environment or a difficult employment situation are invited to contact
the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP),
which now offers new 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
problems, work problems, substance abuse or other 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 LAP@calbar.ca.gov. All calls are confidential.
benefits from CalBar Connect
State Bar members can save up to 25 percent every time they rent
with Hertz, a participant in CalBar Connect, the State Bar’s member services
and benefits initiative. Visit the Hertz page for details.
CalBar Connect, which provides discounts to all State Bar
members, also offers a variety of insurance plans including professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, group and individual disability plans, life insurance, accidental
death and dismemberment (AD&D), auto, home and business office plans.
law through a State Bar section membership
Join other leading attorneys and legal professionals who are passionate about their
practices. Each State Bar section provides its members with valuable tools
including e-newsletters, publications and more. Highly regarded as a premier
provider of legal education, the 16 sections deliver specialized training and
practical programs including symposiums, one-day seminars and multi-day
conferences, on-line seminars, self-study curriculum as well as updates on
trends and changes in the law. Visit our online catalog, which contains more than 1,000 individual seminars.
Sections can also figure heavily when initiating or advocating
legislation and regulations. Plus, most of the sections participate in major
public education efforts and community service activities, such as consumer
radio shows and booklets that explain legal rights. Your minimal annual
membership helps to fund all these essential programs and services. What’s
more, your membership is a tax-deductible investment.
Opt out of
Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State
Bar provides to qualified outside entities may do so by logging on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account
information” and select “Update my mailing preferences (opt out).”