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Bar committees seek a few good lawyers

Attorneys looking for a chance to make a difference are invited to apply for one of the more than 150 positions available on the State Bar's three dozen committees, commissions and boards for 2004-05 committee year. The application period begins Dec. 1 and the application deadline is
Feb. 2.

Would-be volunteers have a wide range of options, from committees dealing with access and fairness issues to section executive committees focused on particular areas of the law, to the various regulatory and legal services commissions.

Most appointments carry a three-year term and applicants must be wiling to volunteer their time, expertise, experience and perspective. Volunteers are not paid for their services, but are reimbursed for approved travel expenses.

The descriptions of the committees and the application form will be available next month at the State Bar's Web site, www.calbar.ca.gov. Interested volunteers may also contact the State Bar's Appointment Office at 415-538-2299 or by fax at 415-538-2255.

State Bar dues bills will be mailed Nov. 14

Dues bills will be mailed Nov. 14 to all active and inactive California attorneys. The dues are authorized by the state legislature and set by the State Bar Board of Governors.

Dues for active lawyers are $390 for the coming year and dues for inactive members will remain at $50.

Again this year, attorneys will have the option of contributing to the Foundation of the State Bar, the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations and the California Supreme Court Historical Society. Active attorneys may deduct $5 from the dues bill for the bar's lobbying efforts in Sacramento and $5 for the elimination of bias fund.

For the first time, lawyers can pay their dues online this year. Full instructions will be included with the bill.

The deadline for payment is Feb. 1.

Los Angeles fee arb training scheduled Jan. 8

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at a January training program in Los Angeles sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration. The free training offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of legal ethics and 1.75 hours of general credit, and is open to State Bar fee arbitrators, those from the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles bar associations 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 training will be held Jan. 8, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., State Bar offices, 1149 South Hill St. To reserve a space, contact Anthony Forrette, 415-538-2074 or anthony.forrette@calbar.ca.gov. For additional information, call Jill Sperber, 415-538-2023.

Applicants sought for legal services board of directors

The State Bar is seeking applications from attorneys interested in serving on the board of directors for Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) for two three-year positions in Sacramento County and one each in the Butte and Shasta regions.

Applicants must practice in the county or region where the vacancy has occurred. The term of office will be from April 20, 2004, to April 19, 2007. Deadline for receipt of applications is Jan. 9.

Legal Services of Northern California is a non-profit Legal Services Corp.-funded program that provides legal assistance to low-income residents of 23 northern California counties. The 36-member board meets five times a year.

Applicants must submit a letter and resume. The information should include attorney bar number.

The materials should be sent to Chris Zupanovich, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94105.

One-stop shopping for legal services users

A new Web site — www.LawHelpCalifornia.org — that provides information about no- or low-cost legal aid to individuals wishing to navigate the legal system on their own is now available. The site provides a database of legal aid services, legal education information and self-help materials and links to resources.

The information is broken down by topics so users can determine which agencies handle particular legal issues. Among the topics are housing, consumer information, families, immigration, domestic violence, employment and disability.

The information is meant to be helpful to both the public and to the lawyers and advocates trying to assist them.

The website came about as a result of backlogs in courts created by the large number of individuals representing themselves. Funded by a technology initiative grant from the Legal Services Corp., the site is the result of a joint effort by various agencies, courts and bar associations. The State Bar is a partner through its program development office.

Among the services offered on the site are online libraries, training materials, model pleadings, calendar and news pages, postings of new cases, court materials, links to social services and links to court websites that assist unrepresented litigants in completing forms and pleadings.

California Indian Legal Services and the Public Interest Clearinghouse coordinate and maintain the website.

Public hearings set on discipline and admissions

The State Bar will hold its annual meetings on the attorney discipline and admissions process and on attorney competence next month in Los Angeles and San Fran-cisco. The Los Angeles hearing will be held Dec. 9 at the bar's offices, 1149 South Hill St.; the San Francisco hearing is Dec. 11 at the bar's headquarters, 180 Howard St. Both hearings are scheduled for 10 a.m.

Individuals who wish to speak at the hearing and/or present written materials should contact Doug Hull at 415-538-2015 by Dec. 5.

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.

Calling all retired lawyers

Retired California lawyers are invited to join the State Bar's emeritus attorney pro bono program, through which active attorney fees are waived in exchange for work for an approved legal services program.

Approved by the board of governors in 1987, the emeritus program is designed to take advantage of the skills, training and experience of retired lawyers.

Interested attorneys can obtain an application from Betty J. Barker at 415-538-2328 or betty.barker@calbar.ca.gov. Those currently enrolled in the program must renew their applications.

E-briefs offer bar news

"E-briefs", a short summary of recent news developments or announcements of interest to lawyers, is available to all attorneys or other interested parties. The mailings are provided on a timely basis.

If you wish to be put on our internet mailing list, please provide your e-mail address to barcomm@calbar.ca.gov.

Free MCLE courses on how to avoid malpractice

In the interest of educating California lawyers about ways to avoid malpractice claims, the State Bar Committee on Professional Liability Insurance will provide two free MCLE seminars next month. "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 Dec. 8 in Los Angeles and Dec. 9 in San Francisco. 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. Participants will receive six hours of MCLE credit in ethics.

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