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You Need to Know

Supreme Court Seeking State Bar Board Candidates

The California Supreme Court is accepting applications for its first-ever appointment to the State Bar Board of Trustees. The deadline to apply is June 1. The appointee will take office at the State Bar Annual Meeting in October 2012.

Applicants must be active members of the bar and have their principal place of business in California. The term of the appointment is for three years, with the possibility of a three-year extension.

The Supreme Court plans to appoint five people to the board as a result of legislation (SB 163) to change the composition of the board and shrink its size from 23 to 19 members.  

The court’s Committee on the Application and Evaluation of Nominees Committee (AENC) – which reviews applicants for the State Bar Court – will provide the court with recommendations and ratings.

COPRAC Statewide Ethics Symposium 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, at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. The 2012 theme is “The Evolution of Ethics in an Electronic Age” and the planned topics include: Implied consent, and communications through social media, under the No Contact Rule; Electronic communications and social networking; Ethical and practical implications created by multi-firm concurrent 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 in legal ethics offered by COPRAC. Program details and registration information are available here.

Save the Dates: June 7-8, 2012 Pathways to Justice Conference

Carlos Moreno

Presented by the State Bar of California’s Office of Legal Services, the Legal Aid Association of California and the Equal Access Project of the Administrative Office of the Courts, the 2012 Pathways to Justice Conference is designed to provide a rich and comprehensive concentration of training sessions involving legal services, pro bono and court-based work. The keynote speaker is former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno.

The conference at UC Hastings College of the Law features 40 training sessions, including six optional program tracks in cultural competency, family law, organizational development, public benefits, small claims and consumer law and technology. Attendees can earn 11.5 hours in MCLE credit in the areas of legal ethics, elimination of bias in the legal profession and detection/prevention of substance abuse.

Through May 15, the discounted registration rate for attendees from nonprofit, court-based and government entities is $175.

Visit the Pathways to Justice web site for more detailed information and to register online.

Nominations Being Sought for the 2012 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award: Nomination Deadline May 31, 2012.

The California Commission on Access to Justice is seeking nominations of California judges for the 2012 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award. The deadline for nominations is Thursday, May 31, 2012. The award will be presented by the Chief Justice in the fall.

The Aranda Access to Justice Award recognizes one California trial judge, appellate court justice, or commissioner for efforts to improve access to the judicial system through a long-term commitment to equal access to the courts, and for personal work in improving access for low- and moderate-income Californians.  The nomination form and additional information are available online.

Past recipients of the Aranda Award include:

2011 Hon. Maria P. Rivera
2011 William C. Vickery, Special Aranda Award
2010 Hon. Laurie D. Zelon
2009 Hon. Gordon Baranco
2008 Hon. Francisco Firmat
2007 Hon. Kathleen E. O’Leary
2006 Hon. Donna M. Petre
2005 Hon. Aviva Bobb
2004 Hon. Earl Johnson, Jr.
2003 Hon. Kenneth M. Kawaichi
2002 Hon. Donna J. Hitchens
2001 Hon. Charles Campbell
2000 Hon. Veronica S. McBeth
1999 Hon. Judith McConnell

Please feel free to contact Frank Monti, or 415-238-2141, if you have any questions or need further information.

Positions Available for the 2013 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation

The State Bar of California is accepting applications from California lawyers, former members of the judiciary and members of the public interested in volunteering to serve on the 2013 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE). Commission members must have the skills, background and experience to assess candidates for California judicial appointments in a thorough, objective and professional manner. Lawyer applicants must be in active practice, and it is preferred that they have been in practice for at least 10 years. The application deadline is Friday, June 1, 2012.

For full details about the commission and the time commitments, please visit online or contact the State Bar’s appointments office at (415) 538-2370.

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

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.