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You Need to Know

Do you know a good pro bono lawyer?

The State Bar of California is seeking nominations for the 2012 President’s Pro Bono Awards and the Loren Miller Legal Services Award. Both recognize extraordinary efforts to provide high-quality legal services to low-income Californians. The nominations deadline is Thursday, March 15, 2012, and the awards will be presented during the 2012 State Bar Annual Meeting scheduled for October in Monterey. For more information about both awards, please visit Loren Miller Award or Pro Bono Awards; or contact Joilene Wood Grove, awards chair, at or 415-305-4651, or Sharon Ngim, State Bar staff liaison at or 415-538-2267.

USF law review symposium

The University of San Francisco School of Law’s Law Review Symposium “Big Brother in the 21st Century?: Reforming the Electronic Communications Privacy Act” is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m., Friday, February 24, at Fromm Hall on the USF campus. The event is approved for six hours of MCLE credit. For more information, please visit or call 415-422-5406.

Save the Date: May 19

The State Bar of California’s Committee on Professional Responsibility (COPRAC) is presenting its 16th Annual Statewide Ethics Symposium, scheduled for Saturday, May 19 in San Francisco. The 2012 theme is “The Evolution of Ethics in an Electronic Age” and the anticipated topics include: Communications with implied consent under Rule 2-100; Electronic communications and social networking; Ethical and practical implications created by multi-firm representation of a single client; and Maintaining confidences and competence in the area of electronically stored information (ESI) and eDiscovery. The event is approved for six hours of MCLE credit. More details to come!

Seminars sought for CSS

The State Bar of California is accepting proposals for educational seminars to be presented at the California Solo and Small Firm Summit, scheduled for June 21-23, at the Renaissance Long Beach Hotel in Long Beach.

The proposal deadline is Thursday, March 1.

The 2012 Solo and Small Firm Summit theme is “Strategic Solutions for Lawyering and Business Management.” Proposed education sessions must be one hour in length and address at least one of the following topics: Practice Management; Emerging Practice Areas; Substantive Law; or Technology.

Courses may offer MCLE credit, but MCLE credit is not required.

For more information, please contact Tricia Horan, manager, Meeting Services Office, at or 415-538-2223.

Bar rules are now available in an e-Reader

To facilitate a lawyer’s ability 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.

For a limited time, the e‑Reader version of the rule book can be purchased at for $5.99, a quarter of the price of the hardcopy book. 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 an Internet or 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 411 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.

New legal ethics and technology resource page is online

The general Ethics Information page at the State Bar website has added a new area dedicated to Ethics and Technology ― a collection of resources that address professional responsibility issues raised by the use of Internet 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 new 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 new service focuses 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, the resources of the State Bar’s Law Practice Management & Technology Section can be considered.

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 §13404. Registration requirements are set forth in Business & Professions Code §§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; and
  • 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 § 16306(f), which specifically removes the protection from liability for claims based upon legal work.

Prior to registering with the Secretary of State, it is advisable to check with the State Bar to ensure that 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. Assistance is available at

Create a surrogacy agreement

An “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 will 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 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.

Support 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 an Orientation & Assessment (O&A) to any attorney who wants professional assistance to cope with personal problems, work problems, substance abuse or other 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.

Membership benefits from CalBar connect

During the Holiday Season, every Hertz auto rental will help the company provide 40,000 free rentals to U.S. troops. State Bar members can save up to 25 percent every time they rent with Hertz, a participant in CalBar Connect, the State Bar’s member services and benefits initiative. For every transaction made through the end of the year, Hertz will donate 1 percent of proceeds towards its goal of 40,000 free weekend rentals for American troops. Visit the Hertz page for details.

CalBar Connect, which provides discounts to all State Bar members, also offers a variety of insurance plans including Professional Liability Insurance, Workers’ Compensation InsuranceGroup and Individual Disability plans, Life Insurance,  AD&D, Auto, Home and Business Office Plans.

Opt out of lists

Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State Bar provides to qualified outside entities may do so by logging on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “Account Information” and select “Update my mailing preferences (opt out).”

Members also may email their opt-out request to Include your bar number.