Diversity award winners
The State Bar recently published more information online about
those who were recognized by the State Bar for their outstanding efforts to
promote diversity in the legal profession.
The bar honored the
winners of the Diversity and Education Pipeline Awards on Oct. 1. at the State
Bar Annual Meeting in San Diego. Nominations for next year’s award will be
solicited beginning in early 2017 and reviewed by the State Bar’s Council on
Access and Fairness. For more information contact Patricia Lee at 415-538-2240.
Sign up to help a veteran
With Veterans Day coming
up, the Practising Law Institute is offering a free CLE course on “Advocating for Veterans” on Nov. 14 in San
Francisco. Last year, more than 1,000 attorneys signed up for the program
online and in person.
To work with the Veterans
Administration attorneys must be accredited and complete three hours of legal
education. The free training program was featured in the October California
Annual discipline hearings
The State Bar of
California has set the dates for its annual public hearings to receive
proposals on attorney disciplinary and admissions procedures as well as the
maintenance or improvement of attorney competence.
The hearings will be held
on Dec. 7 at 180 Howard St., San Francisco, and Dec. 8 at 845 S.
Figueroa St., Los Angeles. The hearings will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude when
all speakers have addressed the panel.
The hearings will be
webcast for the public, however those who wish to speak must be present. Sign
up by Dec. 2 by contacting Doug Hull at 415-538-2015 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Bar committees
Applications are being
accepted for dozens of volunteer positions that are coming available next year
through the State Bar.
The State Bar’s Board of
Trustees appoints members to 10 standing committees, 16 section executive
committees and 21 special committees, boards and commissions, along with five
More information about
all of the 2016-17 appointments, as well as a link to the online application,
is available on the appointments page of
the State Bar's website.
Applications also are
available by writing to the appointments office, State Bar of California, 180
Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, or by calling 415-538-2370.
Most of the volunteer
positions carry a three-year term, and the application deadline for most
appointments is Jan. 27. Applicants
may apply to as many as three committees, but can be appointed to only one. The
Board of Trustees will make the appointments next summer.
Find a certified/registered
Under Government Code Section 68561 (with definitions in Section
68560.5), a deposition in a civil case filed in a court of record is a “court
proceeding” and therefore an interpreter used shall be either: 1) a certified
court interpreter for languages designated by the Judicial Council (see link
for current languages: http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/CIP-Certified-Languages.pdf) or 2) a registered
court interpreter for languages not designated by the Judicial Council (all
other languages). Attorneys can use the Judicial
Council master list (http://www.courts.ca.gov/3796.htm) to search for certified
and registered interpreters who are in good standing with the council.
Attorneys should also be aware that effective Jan. 1, 2015,
California Government Code Section 68561
was amended to include section (h), which requires certain information that a certified or
registered interpreter must state for the record in the deposition and the
documentation regarding the interpreter’s qualifications that a certified or
registered interpreter must present to both parties in a deposition.
for judicial office? Take this mandatory free course
California judges and lawyers seeking judicial office must take
an 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 in 2014.
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
rule came out of the work of the Commission
for Impartial Courts.
Consult the Ethics Hotline
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 questions:
an attorney use inadvertently disclosed confidential information?
the “no contact” rule permit an attorney to imply opposing counsel’s consent?
- Is a
“virtual law office” an ethical alternative for starting a solo practice?
You can get assistance in researching these questions by calling
the State Bar of California’s Ethics
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 staff 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.
Use this form for fee
disputes with clients
Attorneys who encounter a fee dispute with a client are reminded
to use the State Bar’s version of the Notice of Client’s Right to Fee Arbitration form. The form has been approved
by the State Bar Board of Trustees and contains the State Bar seal to ensure
that lawyers provide clients with the correct form.
Business and Professions Code Section 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.
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.