Applications available for JNE Commission
Active California attorneys, former members of the judiciary and members of the public who are interested in serving on the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE Commission) are invited to submit an application to the State Bar. The application deadline is June 1.
The JNE Commission evaluates all candidates who are under consideration for a judicial appointment by the governor. It is composed of lawyers and public members who represent a broad cross-section of California’s legal profession and general population. Appointed by the board of governors, the volunteer commission does not nominate or appoint judges but investigates candidates while maintaining strict confidentiality.
Commissioners serve terms of approximately one year and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Each commission member is also subject to a criminal background check by the state Department of Justice and the FBI.
Information about the commission and time commitment can be found at calbar.ca.gov (select links to Attorney Resources>Committees and Commissions>Other Entity Appointments) or from the bar’s appointments office: 415-538-2318; fax 415-538-2255.
The board of governors will make the appointments in July. Terms begin next February.
Board of governors ballots mailed in five districts
Ballots were mailed last month to eligible voters in the five State Bar districts with vacancies on the board of governors. The five openings are in Districts One (Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties); Three (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties); Five (Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties); Seven (Los Angeles County); and Nine (Imperial and San Diego counties).
The last day to vote is June 30.
Any active member of the State Bar who maintains his or her principal office for the practice of law within the district in which there is a vacancy is eligible to run for a seat on the board.
Lawyer members are elected for three-year terms and will assume their offices at the conclusion of the 2009 Annual Meeting.
Complete information about the election is available at calbar.ca.gov; click on Board of Governors 2009 elections in the left-hand menu.
Legal specialist exam scheduled for August
The exam to become certified as a legal specialist will be administered Aug. 9. The State Bar certifies specialists in 11 fields of law: admiralty and maritime, appellate, bankruptcy, criminal, estate planning, trust and probate, family, franchise and distribution, immigration and nationality, legal malpractice, taxation and workers’ compensation law.
Currently there are 4,200 legal specialists in California.
In addition to passing the exam, specialists must demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfill ongoing education requirements, and be favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work. Certification lasts for five years.
To obtain complete information and to register for the exam, go to CaliforniaSpecialist.org.
The registration deadline is June 26. The fee is $300 for writing or $350 if using a laptop. The exam will be given at the Westin at San Francisco Airport and the Marriott in downtown Los Angeles.
Opening your own firm
“The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office,” which offers tips on everything from creating a business plan to customer service to using technology to best advantage, is now available for purchase online.
The 602-page guide aims to walk lawyers through the law practice process as well as ask the right questions to determine whether a lawyer is a good prospect for starting a solo practice.
The guide may be ordered at the “Sections Bookstore” at calbar.ca.gov.
Opt out of list sales
Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State Bar provides to qualified outside entities may do so by logging on to Member Login at calbar.ca.gov. After registering with 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your bar number.
Hong Kong CLE program
The Litigation and Real Property Law sections are planning a continuing legal education program in Hong Kong the first week of November 2009.
If you are interested in receiving information, please call or e-mail Kristina Robledo at email@example.com or 415-538-2467.
Bar Foundation awards 17 more scholarships
The California Bar Foundation has awarded Rosenthal Bar Exam Scholarships to 17 graduating law students headed for public interest law careers. The foundation’s Bar Exam Scholarship is one of the few programs in the country specifically aimed at providing bar exam-related support for aspiring public interest lawyers, who often graduate with upwards of $100,000 in student loans.
The scholarships provide particularly critical financial support at a time when the credit markets make it difficult for recent law school graduates to finance their bar exam expenses. Because these graduates lack the financial support of a private law firm employer, the cost of taking the exam, enrolling in a bar review course and covering living expenses while studying for the exam can add thousands of dollars to their debt burden.
The program is supported in part by multi-year gifts from two law firms, Reed Smith LLP and the Sidley Austin Foundation.
The students, from 12 schools, each receive $2,000, a doubling of last year’s award, and the top five recipients also receive California BAR/BRI Law Review Bar Exam review courses valued at more than $3,000 each.
Since 1997, the foundation has awarded nearly $170,000 in cash awards and bar review courses to more than 215 graduates of California law schools.