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You Need to Know

Annual discipline hearings scheduled

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

Registration opens for legal specialist exam in January

Attorneys seeking to obtain State Bar certification as a specialist in their practice area will be able to register for the examination starting Jan. 4, to take the one-day exam given Oct. 24, 2017.

The exam is offered every other year and is open to attorneys who have practiced in a designated specialty area and are able to complete the experience, education and reference requirements by January 2021.

Special pricing for registration will be offered this year. The examination registration fee is $100 if valid payment is received on or before May 1. The fee increases to $250 on May 2 and to $350 on Sept. 2. The laptop option can also be added this year at no charge. Registration closes Oct. 2.

For more information, visit the State Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization web page. If you would like a reminder when the application is posted, send an email to with the subject line: registration.

Apply for appointment to the Board of Trustees

Those interested in serving on the State Bar Board of Trustees may apply for appointment to a three-year term by the California Supreme Court. Two board positions will be filled through this process in 2017. The deadline to apply is March 17. More information is available online.

State Bar committees recruiting volunteers

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 outside entities.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.

Join the Pro Bono Practice Program

The State Bar's Pro Bono Practice Program (PBPP), previously known as the Emeritus Attorney Pro Bono Program, affords opportunities for retired attorneys, as well as those who are taking a temporary break from the active practice of law, to assist low-income Californians on a pro bono basis. The program takes advantage of the legal skills, training and experience of attorneys from all practice areas and settings and offers them the opportunity to contribute their legal expertise to California's neediest residents while receiving valuable State Bar benefits.

Eligible participants will receive a waiver of the active State Bar membership fee and have access to free and reduced rates to attend MCLE programs sponsored by the State Bar, the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) and Practising Law Institute. To learn more, visit

Have your 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 information electronically.

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 been using email to gather comments, but continues to encounter one barrier: the spam filter. Most of JNE’s emails reach their intended recipients. However, some are blocked.

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: 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, confidential data. Questions and comments about the process can be directed to

Ethics rules book available for e-reader

To make it easier for lawyers 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’s Kindle.

The 2015 edition of the e-Reader version of the rule book is available on for $6.99, a significant discount from the price of the print version. 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 the Internet or a 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 more than 400 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.

Attorney benefits from CalBar Connect

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.

Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn

Stay informed by following @StateBarCA on Twitter and the State Bar of California page on LinkedIn. We’ll give you a heads up about important regulatory information and let you know about other happenings at the State Bar or within the legal community. If you’re seeking information relevant to your practice area, the State Bar’s voluntary sections and the California Young Lawyers Association also have a presence on social media through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Opt out of sharing certain information

As of Jan. 1, 2016, the State Bar of California is subject to the California Public Records Act (CPRA). For more information regarding the impact of CPRA on the bar’s obligation to release attorney information, please log on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account information” and select “update my mailing preferences (opt out).”