The new law signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown targets scams
aimed at undocumented immigrants. Attorneys and immigration consultants can no
longer charge upfront fees for federal immigration reform services until
Congress passes legislation.
State Bar President Luis J. Rodriguez took the helm of the Board of Trustees last month as its first Latino president in 87 years. His leadership comes as the governor signed sweeping legislation affecting undocumented immigrants, including granting driver’s licenses and making them eligible to practice law. Five brand new trustees also took their oaths.
New rules adopted last month stop short of upping the requirement
for 25 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education every three years. Trustees did
adopt a new “competence issues" requirement to help lawyers spot substance
abuse and mental and physical health issues that could damage their ability to
practice. The rules also create a formal audit system for providers.
With the goal of better preparing
new lawyers to enter the profession, the State Bar ‘s Board of Trustees gave
the go-ahead last month to new practical training requirements as well as a
committee that will decide how to carry them out. Former president Jon Streeter will chair the committee.
Cutting one day from California’s three-day bar exam will
have to wait. Other major bar projects and the upcoming move of Los Angeles
office last month prompted the Committee of Bar Examiners to postpone the idea
Although Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new law that allows
immigrants to become eligible for a State Bar license, the California Supreme
Court wants time to review the idea that they can be admitted. The court’s
review of the law was prompted by a controversial case brought by Mexican immigrant
Sergio C. Garcia, whose application for admission to the bar was approved by
the Committee of Bar Examiners.
The Supreme Court delves into the question of whether a
former journalist who faked stories and lied to cover it up has rehabilitated
himself enough to receive a law license. Stephen Glass’ application was denied by
the Committee of Bar Examiners, but he drew the support of the State Bar Court.