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New court fees and fee increases take effect

New filing fees and fee increases began taking effect last month in California courts as a result of the new state budget. New trial court fees became law Aug. 2 and the remaining fees in trial and appellate courts took effect Aug. 17. A chart including statewide surcharges and fees is posted at the California courts web site, http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/reference/documents/attacha.pdf.

These fees took effect Aug. 2:

  • Collection of court reporter fees: Fee to be assessed equal to the actual cost of providing that service to the parties on a pro rata basis based on one-half day and full day increments for each proceeding lasting more than one hour.
  • Court reporter fee: A one-time, non-refundable fee of $25 to be paid by each party when filing a first paper in a civil action of $10,000 or more, or in any family law case.

The following fees took effect Aug. 17:

  • Complex case fee: Additional fee of $500 for each party in a civil case designated as complex.
  • Continuance of trial fee: Establishes a $100 fee in addition to the notice of motion fee when a continuance of a trial is granted in civil and family law cases. The continuance of trial fee does not apply to hearings held pursuant to a notice of motion or an order to show cause. The fee does not apply in juvenile dependency or probate cases.
  • Limited jurisdiction filing fee (for plaintiff and response) on cases over $10,000: To be increased to $185.
  • Notice of motion fee: To be increased from $23 to $33.
  • Probate fees: Establishes graduated fees of $185 to $3,500 for estates up to $3.5 million. The filing fee for estates valued $3.5 million or more is $3,500 plus 0.2 percent of the amount over $3.5 million.
  • Security surcharge/fee: A $20 surcharge to be assessed for court security for civil filings (except small claims) and a $20 fee for criminal and traffic convictions (except parking).
  • Small claims fee: To be increased from $35 to $60 when the number of claims filed by a party in each court exceeds 12 in a 12-month period.
  • Summary judgment motion fee: To be increased from $100 to $150.
  • Court of Appeal: The fee for filing a notice of appeal or a petition for a writ in a civil case appealed to the court of appeal is increased to $655.
  • Supreme Court: The fee for filing a petition for a writ or a petition for a hearing in a civil case in the Supreme Court after a decision in the court of appeal is increased to $590.

Four fee arb trainings set

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at four fall training programs sponsored by the State Bar’s Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration. The free trainings offer 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including 1.75 hours of legal ethics. Each is open to State Bar fee arbitrators, those from local counties and lay people and lawyers interested in joining the program.

Among the topics for discussion are how to write an enforceable award, conflicts of interest, disclosure requirements and how to control the proceeding.

The sessions, each from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., will be held:

  • Sept. 11 in Riverside at the county bar association offices, 4129 Main St. To reserve a space, call 909/682-1015. It is open to fee arbitrators from Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
  • Sept. 24 in Grass Valley at the Holbrooke Hotel, 212 West Main St. To reserve a space, contact Heather Silber at 530/432-5291. Open to arbitrators from Nevada and Placer counties.
  • Oct. 2 in San Mateo County. Call Vicki Robinson at the county bar association, 650-369-4444.
  • Nov. 5 in Monterey at the Monterey College of Law, 404 W. Franklin St. To reserve a space, call Elaine Richelieu at 831/663-6955.

For additional information, call Jill Sperber, director of the State Bar Office of Mandatory Fee Arbitration, at 415-538-2023.

Avoid malpractice and earn free MCLE credit

In the interest of educating California lawyers about ways to avoid malpractice claims, the State Bar’s Committee on Professional Liability Insurance will provide two free MCLE seminars next month. Participants will receive six hours of MCLE credit in ethics.

“Risk Management Audits for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners” will be conducted by Anthony Davis, a nationally known speaker on risk management. The six-hour course will be held Oct. 7 in San Francisco and Oct. 8 in San Diego. Pre-registration is required to guarantee seating. Check-in is at 11:30 a.m., and the course lasts from noon until 6:30 pm.

The seminars are open to all attorneys at no cost on a first come-first served basis. Those wishing to attend should register in advance at www.kvi-calbar.com or call 415/538-2201 for more information.

Compliance Group 1 faces Feb. 1 MCLE deadline

Members of Compliance Group 1 (last names A-G) must complete 25 hours of MCLE credit by Feb. 1, 2004. Of that total, 12 1/2 hours can be completed through self-study courses.

All active attorneys must complete four hours of legal ethics study, one hour of substance abuse prevention and one hour of elimination of bias in the legal profession.

Full details of the requirements are provided on the State Bar’s Web site, www.calbar.ca.gov. Click on “MCLE” on the right hand menu.

Aranda Award nominations deadline is October 10

The California Commission on Access to Justice is seeking nominations of California judges for the Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award.

The annual award honors a judge who has demonstrated a longterm commitment to equal access to the courts. It is presented by the Judicial Council, the State Bar and the California Judges Association.

The nomination deadline is Oct. 10.

Information, including criteria for the award and the nomination form, is available from Chris Zupanovich, 415/538-2534; chris.zupanovich@calbar.ca.gov.

Opt out of list sales

Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State Bar sells to outside entities may do so by e-mailing a request to memrec@calbar.ca.gov. Include your bar number.

The bar has a policy under which members’ names are sold to outside entities that meet certain criteria. The restricted lists include, among others, MCLE providers, the Foundation of the State Bar, local bars and bar-approved insurance providers.

Need life insurance?

California attorneys are eligible to purchase competitively priced life insurance policies through the State Bar’s Life Insurance Program. Premium rates are based on an experience-rated model with its own reserves and are therefore not subject to the volatilities of the general insurance market.

The program, underwritten by a top-rated carrier, is approved by the State Bar Group Insurance Committee. Thanks to a Term Premium Credit (TPC), members have historically enjoyed decreases in their net premium costs. The TPC is not guaranteed and could increase in future years, but has not done so since it was created in 1979.

For more information, go to www.StateBarLife.com or call a life insurance specialist at Acordia, 1-800/ 648-1600.

Student wins essay contest

A Santa Clara Law School student received a $1,000 first place award for writing the winning essay in a contest sponsored by the State Bar’s Committee on Women in the Law and Luce, Forward, Hamilton and Scripps. Jennifer Johnson wrote an essay entitled, “Employers Take Note,” about her search for a job that would accommodate the particular needs of a woman lawyer.

Other winners were: second place, $500, Srvitta Kengskool, UCLA School of Law; third place, $250, Casey Martin, Santa Clara Law School; and honorable mention, Katherine Wich, UCLA.

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