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Bench and bar leaders unite over court funding

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and State Bar President Jon StreeterNew State Bar President Jon Streeter and Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye sent a clear message last month that court funding must be a top priority for both bench and bar. Streeter was sworn in as the bar’s 87th president and said in his inaugural address, “I cannot overstate the gravity of this issue.” The chief justice called for a team effort to increase the judicial branch budget.

Kareena BlackmonFoster children advocates tackle a new issue ― identity theft

Recent streamlined credit checks on foster youth found 5 percent had bad credit reports, even though most children should not have credit records at all. When Kareena Blackmon learned she had a credit problem, she discovered years-old unfamiliar debts on her record. A pilot project suggests children may be victimized by identity theft at the same rate as adults.

Bar fee bill signed by the governor

A measure signed by Gov. Brown authorizes the State Bar to collect a $400 fee from active lawyers next year, $115 from inactive lawyers and offers an option to donate $20 to legal aid programs.

Refugee rights are a young lawyer’s calling

Emily Arnold-FernandezEmily Arnold-Fernandez is honored for devoting her burgeoning career to helping refugees worldwide through Asylum Access, a San Francisco-based nonprofit she founded five years ago that has helped more than 7,000 refugees in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Misappropriation charges filed against lawyer
already facing federal indictment

Elk Grove lawyer Sean Gjerde, already indicted in federal court for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, was charged last month by the State Bar with 36 counts of misconduct, including misappropriating trust funds, insurance fraud and violating a court order.

The profession’s best are honored for pro bono work

The 2011 President’s Pro Bono Service Awards, which recognize California attorneys and law students who provide free legal services to those who cannot afford to pay for them, went to individuals who help veterans, the homeless, immigrants, a victim of elder abuse and low-income tenants living in squalor.