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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Deadline extended for volunteer recruitment

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 2017 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 has been extended to Feb. 8. 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.

Applicants sought for election to board

Nominating petitions are available for attorneys interested in running for election in Districts 2 and 6.

District 2 covers Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. District 6 covers Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Any active member of the State Bar who maintains his or her principal law office in the district is eligible to run.

Nominating petitions are due April 3. Voting will take place online and by mail in May and June. The election winners will begin their three-year terms at the State Bar Annual Meeting Sept. 21-22 in Los Angeles.

Registration opens for legal specialist exam

Attorneys practicing in their specialty area of law since at least January 2016 who are interested in being certified as a specialist may now register for the next one-day legal specialist examination given on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

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, allowing test-takers to type essay answers. Registration closes on Oct. 2.

The exam is offered every other year and is open to attorneys who have practiced in one of 11 designated specialty areas since January 2016 and who are able to complete the experience, education and reference requirements by January 2021. The morning portion of the exam contains eight short essays, while the afternoon session contains 75 multiple-choice questions in the specialty.

The bar offers free preparation packets on its website to help attorneys gauge how much study is needed. For more information, see the California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) web page.

Find a certified/registered court interpreter

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: 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 ( 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.

Running 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.

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.

Mandatory 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.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

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

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 member information, please log on to My State Bar Profile. Go to “account information” and select “update my mailing preferences (opt out).”