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Conference of Delegates, State Bar officially separate

It's official: The State Bar and the Conference of Delegates have separated.

Both groups unanimously approved a contract agreement last month which enables them to go their separate ways while building a new, independent relationship.

Under a memorandum of understanding reached by both sides, the conference, now called the Confer-ence of Delegates of California Bar Associations (CDCBA) will continue to hold its yearly meetings in conjunction with the bar's annual meeting. It also can solicit voluntary contributions by way of the bar's dues bill sent to all members every year.

The conference already reinvented itself as a non-profit trade association, after Gov. Davis signed legislation last month enabling it to do so. Most important to the conference is its new ability to lobby for legislation it supports, unfettered by restrictions imposed on its political activities by the courts and the legislature.

The group's positions on controversial issues have gotten the bar in hot water in recent years, and Gov. Pete Wilson singled out the conference's activities when he vetoed the bar's dues bill in 1997.

Bar President Karen Nobumoto praised a task force she appointed 10 months ago to study possible separation, commending the group for "honestly and directly" addressing issues raised by lawmakers in Sacramento.

Rather than waste time on "calls for a return to the old days," she said, "the group laid a solid foundation to build a new independent relationship between the bar and the conference."

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