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Bar foundation offers student loan consolidation

Members of the State Bar and their families with eligible educational loans can now consolidate those loans with the Student Loan Consolidation Program from eGrad, a corporate sponsor of the Foundation of the State Bar of California. Through the program, members may be able to lock in at a fixed interest rate as low as 1.625 percent and reduce monthly loan payments by as much as 58 percent.

Participants also can secure these benefits:

  • Simplify loan payments by making one monthly payment;
  • Choose from a variety of flexible repayment options;
  • No application fees, credit checks or prepayment penalties.

A dedicated customer information line — 1-800-958-6085 — has been established for State Bar members and their families to answer questions. Information also is online at the Foundations's Web site.

Legal specialist exam scheduled for Aug. 14

The Legal Specialist Examination will be administered Aug. 14 in San Francisco and Los Angeles for lawyers interested in enhancing their practice by becoming a specialist in one of eight areas of law. The deadline to apply is July 1.

In order to become certified in a particular area, an attorney must pass the exam, demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfill ongoing education requirements and be favorably evaluated by other lawyers and judges familiar with their work.

Attorneys may become specialists in appellate; bankruptcy; criminal; estate planning, trust and probate law; family; immigration and nationality; taxation; and workers’ compensation law.

Information about the exam is available at californiaspecialist.org or by calling 415-538-2120 or e-mailing legalspec@calbar.ca.gov.

Five seats open on State Bar Board of Governors

Ballots for voting in both the State Bar Board of Governors and California Young Lawyers Association board elections must be returned by June 30.

Fourteen candidates are running for five seats on the board of governors, and five are seeking two seats on the CYLA board. Two of the candidates in the CYLA election were unopposed and deemed elected.

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 vote. 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 (Los Angeles offices 1 and 2) and District 8 (Orange County).

Excerpts of the biographical statements submitted by the board of governors candidates were published in the May California Bar Journal. More extensive biographical information, as well as full statements, can be found at calbar.ca.gov>About the Bar>Board of Governors>2005. Questions about ballots may be directed to billie.sivanov@calbar. ca.gov.

Fee arb trainings scheduled

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at two training programs, in Pleasant Hill and Monterey, sponsored by the State Bar’s Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration. The free trainings offer 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of legal ethics and 1.75 hours of general credit, and are open to Contra Costa and Monterey county 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 Pleasant Hill training will be held Aug. 18 at the John F. Kennedy School of Law, 110 Ellinwood Way, Room S304. To reserve a space, contact Emily Day at the Contra Costa County Bar Association, 925-370-2541, or e-mail eday@cccba.org.

The Monterey training will be held Aug. 24 at Monterey College of Law, 100 Col. Durham Blvd. To reserve a space, contact Elaine Richelieu at the Monterey County Bar Association at 831/663-6955 or e-mail erichelieu@aol.com. Both programs will be held from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

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

Calling all artists

Members of the California bench and bar who draw, sculpt, work in ceramics or photography are invited to participate in the 53rd Annual Meeting Bench and Bar Art Exhibit. The artwork will be displayed in the San Diego Convention Center during the meeting from Sept. 8-11.

Awards will be given in these categories: oils and acrylics, portraits and figures, watercolors, prints, drawings, mixed media, ceramics, sculpture and photography. Art show rules and entry blanks can be downloaded from calbar.ca.gov/archive/calbar/annual meeting, or obtained by calling Cheryl Morgan at 415-538-2210. All entries must be submitted by Aug. 1.

New CYLA officers elected

The California Young Lawyers Association elected new officers for the 2005-06 term. They are: president — Francis Ryu of Los Angeles; first vice president — Ken Wentz of Stockton; second vice president — Feb Cabrasawan of Sunny-vale; third vice president — Matt Butler of San Diego; and treasurer — Deborah Smith of San Francisco.

Sacramento attorney Maralee MacDonald will serve as the group’s representative to the State Bar Board of Governors.

CYLA represents lawyers who are 36 or younger and attorneys who have been in practice one to five years.

Access and fairness survey continues

In an effort to determine the kinds of challenges faced by women, minorities, older or gay attorneys in California, an online survey of those groups continues until Aug. 1. The Access & Fairness survey seeks information similar to that elicited in a poll of attorneys with disabilities.

The new survey can be accessed at talkingpolls.com/go/access and will seek basic demographic information and ask participants to provide feedback on their experiences in law school, with the bar exam, in seeking employment, practicing before the courts and on opportunities for advancement in the profession.

No mandatory dues were used to fund the survey. For further information, contact Patricia Lee at 415-538-2240 or patricia.lee@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 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.

40 percent pass February bar exam

The Committee of Bar Examiners announced last month that 40 percent of the would-be lawyers who took the February bar exam passed. That rate compares with the 35.3 percent pass rate for the February 2004 exam.

If the 1,810 successful test-takers satisfy other requirements for admission to the bar, they will boost the number of attorneys in California to more than 202,000.

Of the 4,520 applicants, 1,281 (28.3 percent) were taking the test for the first time. Of those, 54.4 percent passed. Of the 3,239 applicants repeating the bar exam, 34.4 percent passed.

The committee also announced that 205 — 54.5 percent — of the 376 lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam passed. That percentage is about the same as the 54.1 percent for the February 2004 exam. The attorneys’ exam is open to lawyers who have been admitted in another jurisdiction to active practice in good standing for at least four years.

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