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Updated ‘Kids & the Law Guide’ ready for order

By Laura Ernde
Staff Writer

Kids and the Law graphicThe State Bar of California has released an updated version of “Kids & the Law: An A-to-Z Guide for Parents,”marking the 20th year the popular free consumer guides have been distributed to the public.

Produced by the bar’s Office of Communications, the 16-page glossy guide is printed in English and Spanish with the help of a grant from the California Bar Foundation. The guide is available for ordering online, along with the companion publications “Seniors & the Law: A Guide for Maturing Californians,” and “When You Turn 18: A Survival Guide for Teenagers.” An updated Spanish version of “Kids & the Law” will be ready for order in late May.

“As part of its mission of public protection, the State Bar tries to educate various groups of consumers about their legal rights. Schools, nonprofit organizations and individuals find these guides to be a trusted and indispensable resource,” State Bar President David Pasternak said.

“Kids & the Law” was first published in 1996 after a State Bar survey revealed that many kids were unclear about certain laws and the consequences for breaking them. It has been regularly updated over the years. The 2016 edition incorporates changes in the law since 2013, including increases to the minimum wage recently approved in California.

The original publication was a small bound book of 40 or 50 pages authored by Thomas A. Nazario, a professor at University of San Francisco Law School and children’s rights advocate.

When he was approached by the State Bar about collaborating, Nazario had recently received national press attention and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show for his book “In Defense of Children,” a legal encyclopedia of children’s rights in the United States.

Nazario helped the bar survey young people about the legal issues they faced and used that information to put together the book in a period of seven weeks. Soon after, the bar converted to the current 16-page format and has given away hundreds of thousands of the guides since.

“I’m glad I did it,” he said. “The State Bar has done a great job of getting this information out.”

Nazario, who also runs The Forgotten International Foundation, has written a number of other books, including “Living on a Dollar a Day” and “Doing Good.” He said “Kids & the Law” has probably been his most successful. “I guess because it’s free,” he said.

Although the guides are free, donations are gladly accepted to help cover shipping costs. Checks may be mailed to the State Bar of California, Office of Communications – Consumer Education Donations, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105. Those who do not have access to the Internet may call 888-875-LAWS to order.