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Bar sections launch membership drive

Looking for ways to expand your abilities, keep current with developments in your field and raise your law firm’s profile? Are you interested in helping to develop legislation or participate in cutting-edge court matters? Perhaps you want to share your thoughts or expertise with your colleagues by writing an article.

The State Bar’s Council of Sections can help. In an effort to boost their numbers, its 16 sections have launched a membership drive, hoping to attract lawyers with common interests in particular practice areas.

Some sections focus on legal subject areas, including business, intellectual property, taxation, family, criminal, environmental, antitrust and unfair competition, real property, public law, labor and employment, trusts and estates, and workers’ compensation. Others are devoted to issues relating to practicing the craft of lawyering, such as the Solo and Small Firm and Law Practice Management and Technology sections. Still others — the Litigation and International Law sections — have interests that cross discipline or practice types.

Sections are funded exclusively through use of voluntary dues. Members receive benefits that include discounts for educational programs, publications with up-to-date news about your field, “members only” sites on the State Bar’s Web site and discussion boards with other section members.

A representative of each section sits on the Council of Sections, providing members a voice in State Bar matters.

Descriptions of the sections are online at calbar.ca.gov.

Five seats open on State Bar board of governors

Nominating petitions are available for five openings on the State Bar’s 23-member board of governors. Five seats also are open on the board of the California Young Lawyers Association.

Any active bar member who maintains his or her principal office for the practice of law in a bar district in which there is an opening is eligible to run. The openings are in District 4 (Marin and San Francisco counties), District 6 (Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties), District 7 (offices 1 and 2) and District 8 (Orange County).

Lawyer members are elected for a three-year term and will assume office at the conclusion of the bar’s Annual Meeting in September.

The nominating petition and related candidate information are available at the bar’s Web site, calbar.ca.gov, or by telephone request at 415-538-2274. Additional information is available at that number or by e-mailing billie.sivanov@calbar.ca.gov.

April 1 is the last day to file nominating petitions. Ballots will be mailed April 29 and votes will be counted by June 30.

MCLE, dues deadlines pass

State Bar dues payments from all active and inactive California lawyers were due Feb. 1 and members of Compliance Group 3 (last names N-Z) were to submit their MCLE compliance card by the same date.

Attorneys who missed the dues payment deadline have until March 15 to pay the dues. At that time, a 10 percent penalty on the unpaid amount will be assessed.

A 15 percent penalty will be added May 15 if the dues still are not paid.

Dues can be paid online through the My State Bar Profile feature on the bar’s Web site — calbar.ca.gov. Questions about dues can be addressed to billing@calbar.ca.gov or by calling 415-538-2360.

Members of MCLE Compliance Group 3 also have until March 15 to submit their compliance card. At that time, a $75 non-compliance fee will be charged.

Members of that group should have completed 25 hours of MCLE credit. Compliance information is available on the Web site. You may now calculate and submit your compliance card through the My State Bar Profile feature.

Questions about MCLE compliance may be addressed to mcle@calbar.ca. gov or by calling 415-538-2130.

Failure to pay bar dues or meet MCLE requirements may result in suspension.

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.

Attorneys who have been active three out of the past eight years are eligible and are not required to be experienced in the areas for which they are volunteering. Local programs will provide free training.

Although MCLE requirements are not waived for emeritus attorneys, CEB will give “silver passports” to the volunteers, entitling them to free CEB programs.

Interested attorneys may obtain an online application at calbar.ca.gov/ calbar/pdfs/comcom/2003-Emeritus-App.pdf. Questions may be directed to Betty J. Barker at 415-538-2328 or betty.barker@calbar.ca.gov. Those currently enrolled in the program must renew their applications.

Long Beach fee arb training set for March 3

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at a training program in Long Beach 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 and Long Beach fee arbitrators 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 March 3, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., at the law offices of Keesal, Young & Logan, 400 Ocean-gate, 14th floor. To reserve a space, contact Kathy Du Vernet of the Long Beach County Bar Association, 562-988-6444, or e-mail Director@Longbeachbar.com.

For additional information, call Jill Sperber, 415-538-2023.

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).”

As an alternative, members may e-mail their opt out request to memrec@calbar.ca.gov. Include your bar number.

The bar has a policy under which members’ names are provided at cost to a restricted list of outside entities that meet certain criteria. The names are provided for a one-time use to, among others, MCLE providers, the Foundation of the State Bar, local bars and bar-approved insurance providers.

‘Pathways to Justice’ scheduled for June 2-4

The 2005 State Bar Spring Summit, titled “Pathways to Justice,” is scheduled for June 2-4 at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Participants can earn more than 13 hours of MCLE credit, choosing among 40 sessions that cover a wide variety of topics for those involved in the delivery of legal assistance to low- and moderate-income Californians.

Keynote speakers will be U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel and David Hall, a professor at Northeastern University School of Law who serves on the board of the Legal Services Corporation.

The summit is sponsored by the State Bar, its Office of Legal Services, Access and Fairness Programs and the Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC).

More information and registration will be available in late March. Contact Rodney Low at rodney.low@calbar.ca.gov, 415-538-2219, or Sharon Ngim at sharon.ngim@calbar.ca.gov, 415-538-2267.

Kids available in Korean,

Kids & the Law: An A-to-Z Guide for Parents is now available in Korean as well as English, Spanish and Chinese. The latest translation brings the number of guides printed in all languages to 1.7 million. To obtain free copies of the guide, e-mail kids@calbar.ca.gov.

A toll-free telephone number — 888-875-LAWS — also has been created to help people obtain information about the State Bar’s consumer education guides and pamphlets, including ordering information.

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