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California Bar Foundation
You Need to Know

Indian Legal Services seeking attorneys for board

The State Bar of California is seeking applications from attorneys interested in serving on the board of directors of California Indian Legal Services (CILS), a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to rural residents who can’t afford a lawyer.

The term begins Dec. 1, 2016 and lasts three years, with the successful candidate eligible for re-appointment for an additional term.

Applicants must be State Bar members, support the purposes of the Legal Services Corporation Act and have an interest in and knowledge of the delivery of quality legal services to people who are poor. Applications will be initially reviewed by the CILS Board of Directors.

Apply by letter, including a resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background. Send materials to Louisa Ayrapetyan, the State Bar of California, Office of Legal Services, 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. For questions, contact Ayrapetyan at 415-538-2534 or

Legal ethics and technology resource page is online

The general Ethics Information page on the State Bar website has an area dedicated to attorney ethics ― 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 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.

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 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 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 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.