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You Need to Know

State Bar committees need volunteers

The State Bar is recruiting applicants for approximately 200 positions on more than three dozen committees, boards and commissions. Groups with open positions range from committees dealing with access and fairness issues to section executive committees focused on particular areas of the law to a committee addressing questions of professional responsibility and conduct. If your interest is the day-to-day delivery of legal services to poor and middle-income individuals, administering the IOLTA program or exploring ways to improve access to civil justice, positions on legal services committees are available.

Most of the appointments carry a three-year term, and the deadline application is Feb. 1. A complete list of openings, application forms and detailed committee information is available at Applicants can apply to a maximum of three committees but can only be appointed to one. The State Bar Board of Governors will make the appointments next summer and committee terms begin September 18, 2011.

Applications also are available by calling the bar’s appointments office at 415-538-2318 or by faxing 415-538-2255.

Five positions will open on the ABA House of Delegates next August. Applicants for those positions must submit an application by Feb. 1. State Bar delegates serve two-year terms and may serve three consecutive terms. The young lawyer delegate must be 35 years or younger at the time his/her term begins.

In addition, two lawyer positions on the Judicial Council will be vacant; applications must be submitted by Feb. 1. Members serve staggered three-year terms that run from September 15, to September 14.

Detailed information about the appointments is available at; select the link to Other Entity Appointments.

Training for fee arbitrators

Current and prospective voluntary fee arbitrators are invited to a Nov. 18 Los Angeles training on the basics of serving on a local bar or State Bar fee arbitration panel. Non-lawyer lay arbitrators as well as lawyers may attend the free event, which will provide 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of ethics credit. Topics will include writing an enforceable award, statute of limitations, conflicts of interest, arbitrator disclosure requirements and controlling the proceeding.

The event will be held Nov. 18, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Bar Association,1055 W. 7thStreet, 27th floor, Los Angeles. To make a reservation, call Gemma George at 213-896-6441 or e-mail her at For further information, call Jill Sperber, the State Bar’s Mandatory Fee Arbitration director, at 415-538-2023.

Annual discipline hearings set for December

The State Bar will hold two hearings, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, to receive public and attorney input on attorney disciplinary procedures, attorney competency and admissions procedures.

The Los Angeles hearing will be held Dec. 9 at the bar building at 1149 South Hill St. The San Francisco hearing will be held Dec. 14 at the bar’s headquarters, 180 Howard St. Both hearings start at 10 a.m.

Individuals who wish to speak at a hearing or submit written material should contact Doug Hull at 415-538-2015 or at by Dec. 3.

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.

Beef up your online profile

Sept. 1 marked the start of a new “Find Legal Help” feature on the State Bar website that allows the public to get more information about California attorneys that may aid in their decision to hire a particular lawyer. Attorneys are invited to add a photo and such information to their public record as area(s) of practice, additional language(s) spoken and law firm website address. 

By mid-August, more than 400 attorneys had added information on their State Bar page through My State Bar Profile. Bar officials hope that other California attorneys will be encouraged to voluntarily update their profiles knowing that the public now has access to the additional information.

Besides the current search by attorney name and bar number (in the regular search) and by location (in the advanced search), the new feature will allow for searches based on languages spoken. A random list of up to 500 attorneys will be available based on the search criteria.  Although the area of practice may be included on the website, the board of governors decided not to include it as a searchable feature by the public.

Other information currently visible to the public includes contact information, date admitted to the State Bar, undergraduate and law schools attended, disciplinary record, if any, sections membership and other bar administrative information.

Updated Kids guide is now available

The State Bar’s popular Kids & the Law: An A-to-Z Guide for Parents has been updated and published and is available free to children and their parents. The bar received nearly 100,000 advance orders for the publication.

Produced by the bar’s Media & Information Services office, Kids & the Law provides parents with information about laws affecting their children, their relationship with their children and important resources about drugs, driving, drinking and other issues facing all families.

The revised guide includes information on recent laws making it illegal to smoke in a car if any of the occupants are under 18 (California is only the third state to enact such a law) and banning the sale of nitrous oxide to anyone under 18. It will also include new information and developments dealing with sexting and cyberbullying, as well as a law affecting young people’s patronage of tanning salons.

The guide is paid in part by a $65,000 dedicated fund from the California Bar Foundation. A Spanish translation will be available later in the year.

The guide was first produced in 2001 and again in 2004 and 2007; together the bar has distributed more than 3 million copies free of charge.

To order copies of Kids & the Law, e-mail and state the number desired (i.e., 100 copies, 200 copies), and provide a full name, complete mailing address (no P.O. boxes, please) and phone number.

The guide is free and may be ordered in bulk at no charge. For especially large orders, a contribution to defray shipping costs is always appreciated.

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.

The all-new 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.

Litigation Section schedules A Week in Legal London in May

The State Bar Litigation Section will hold its 23rd “A Week in Legal London” May 15-20, offering attendees an opportunity to experience the inner workings of the English legal system, expand litigation skills and network with members of the London legal community. Participants will attend sessions at the Royal Courts of Justice, Old Bailey and the High Court of Justice, and attend luncheons at historic Inns of Court generally available only to members of the British legal community.

Participation is limited to 60 people. Additional information about the educational programs, registration and travel arrangements is available at Questions may be addressed to Michelle McFadden at or 801-278-3641.

Savings from CalBar Connect

CalBar Connect, the State Bar’s members-only website, connects members to a variety of partners who offer discounts and programs to help attorneys save money in their law practice management. To view the partners’ products and offerings, visit CalBar Connect.

Promotions now offered by select CalBar Connect partners include special discounts on phone orders placed with Office Max and T-Mobile and reduced rates on car rentals throughout the season with Hertz.

Visit our partner for information on its upcoming MCLE program: The Ethics of Marketing Your Law Practice: The Rules Related to Marketing in California.

JNE switches to electronic forms

The Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) is expanding efforts to transmit electronic confidential forms to raters in order to garner more responses, relieve commissioners of administrative burdens and reduce postage. Raters will be able to complete the form in a matter of minutes.

Testing began in Ventura County and forms have been transmitted to various populations in Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, Sonoma, San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. The goal is to eventually send all confidential comment forms electronically.

Questions, comments or feedback about the new process may be sent to

One opening on Indian legal services board

One three-year position on the board of directors of California Indian Legal Services (CILS) will open Sept. 1 and interested attorneys are invited to submit an application to the State Bar. The 13-member board meets four times a year to make policy decisions governing CILS’ operations. The agency provides legal assistance to the rural poor. 

The deadline for applications is Dec. 10.

Interested attorneys, who must be bar members and have an interest in quality legal services for the poor, should apply by letter. A resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background must be included. The materials should be sent to Chris Zupanovich, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639; or Questions may be directed to 415-538-2534.

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 e-mail their opt-out request to

Include your bar number.