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VIP Mentors expands to four more facilities

VIP Mentors, a California nonprofit that recruits attorneys to mentor young men and women on parole, has expanded its program to help wards at four youth correctional facilities. At the invitation of the Division of Juvenile Justice of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, VIP will provide mentors to wards at one facility in Chino and three in Stockton.

The addition of the new programs means that VIP mentoring will be available to young male wards still incarcerated in facilities, as opposed to being on parole. Successful participants may apply for Targeting Obstacles to Personal Success (TOPS) scholarships that help pay for educational and training costs. In addition, the program will offer third-year law students an opportunity to serve as mentors.

Attorney mentors spend time with their match during a monthly group day, with activities planned and supervised by the local VIP program director, and stay in contact by other available means such as visiting day and letters. Mentors offer friendship and practical advice but are not allowed to give gifts or provide legal representation.

“The point is simply to be there for someone who is trying to make important changes in his or her life,” says VIP chairman John W. Vineyard, a Riverside attorney.

Started in 1972, VIP now operates 15 local programs statewide. Its volunteer attorneys have mentored thousands of young men and women and have an enviable success rate: nine out of 10 participants stay crime-free while working with a mentor.

In addition to working with parolees of the California Youth Authority, lawyers also can volunteer to mentor parolees of the adult prison system.

Attorneys interested in volunteering or getting more information about VIP should contact vip-statewide@vipmentors.org. They also can contact local program directors directly by going to vipmentors.org.

Five seats open on State Bar, CYLA boards

The last day to file nominating petitions for one of five open seats on the State Bar Board of Governors is April 3. Any active member of the bar who maintains his or her principal office for the practice of law in one of the districts with an open seat is eligible to run for a three-year term.

The districts with an opening are: District 1, Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties; District 3, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties; District 5, Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties; District 7, Los Angeles County; and District 9, Imperial and San Diego counties.

Five seats in the same districts also are open for the California Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors, and candidates have until April 3 to file their nominating papers. Eligible candidates for the CYLA board are lawyers who will not be 35 years old by Dec. 31, 2006, or who will not have entered their fourth year of practice by that date.

Ballots will be mailed May 1 and new board members will take their seats in October.

Questions about the State Bar election may be addressed to Billie Sivanov at billie.sivanov@calbar.ca.gov or by calling 415-538-2274. Questions about the CYLA election may be addressed to Leanna Dickstein at CYLA@calbar.ca.gov or by calling 213-765-1337.

March 15 penalties if dues not paid, MCLE incomplete

Feb. 1 was the deadline for active and inactive attorneys to pay their annual State Bar membership fee and for members of MCLE compliance group 2 to submit their compliance card. A 10 percent penalty will attach for attorneys who do not pay their dues by March 15. Those who do not comply with the MCLE requirement by that date face a $75 penalty.

About 40,000 active attorneys are in MCLE compliance group 2 (last names H-M) and should have completed 25 hours of continuing legal education by Feb. 1. 

Attorneys who do not pay their dues or comply with MCLE requirements are subject to suspension.

MCLE compliance can be reported online through the My State Bar Profile feature on the bar’s Web site, calbar.ca.gov, or by filling out and returning the compliance card sent with the fee statement in November.

Details about the fee statement are available at calbar.ca.gov/fee

statement or by calling the Member Services Center at 1-888-800-3400.

Fee arb training scheduled for March 9 in Vista

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at a March 9 training program in Vista, sponsored by the State Bar 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.

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 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Bar Association of Northern San Diego County, 249 South Indiana Ave., Vista. To reserve a space, call Mary Cervantes at 760-758-5833 or e-mail bansdc@bansdc.org. For additional information, call Jill Sperber, 415-538-2023.

Attorneys sought for legal services board of directors

The State Bar is seeking applications from lawyers interested in serving on the board of directors of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA). One two-year position is open. CRLA is a non-profit Legal Services Corp.-funded program created to provide legal assistance to the rural poor. Its 45-member board meets four times a year.

Interested attorneys should apply by letter, listing the reasons they should be appointed and including a resume of their work experience, community activity and educational background. Bar number also should be included. The deadline to apply is April 18.

The materials should be sent to Chris Zupanovich, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639. Questions may be directed to her at 415-538-2534 or chris.zupanovich@calbar.ca.gov.

Nominations open for legal services awards

The State Bar’s Office of Legal Services, Access & Fairness Programs is seeking nominations for the annual President’s Pro Bono Service Awards, the Loren Miller Legal Services Award, the Diversity Awards and the Jack Berman Award of Achievement for a young lawyer.

The deadline for all nominations is March 15.

Nomination forms, award categories and criteria for selection are online at calbar.ca.gov > About the Bar > Awards.

10th annual ethics symposium set for May 6

The State Bar has scheduled its Annual Statewide Ethics Symposium May 6, marking the 10th anniversary of an event that brings together California’s experts on attorney ethics. The symposium offers advanced programs for lawyers in all practice areas and explores emerging ethical issues.

This year’s conference will focus on protecting and using confidential information and includes sessions on:

  • Preserving confidentiality in a technological age;
  • Disclosures of confidential information;
  • Client secrets and the lawyer’s right of self-defense; and
  • A report on the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The keynote address will be delivered by U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Fogel, and welcoming remarks will be offered by State Bar President Jim Heiting and Donald Polden, dean of the Santa Clara University School of Law, where the symposium will be held.

Registration information will be available this month.

Visit legal London and earn MCLE credits

The State Bar Litigation Section will sponsor “A Week in Legal London” July 9-14, offering an opportunity to experience the inner workings of the English legal system, expand litigation skills and meet with members of the London legal community.

The registration fee is $2,295 per person, and includes daily luncheons, two receptions, a formal closing dinner at historic Trinity House, and the education programs and materials. Accommodations are available for an additional fee.

The Litigation Section also will offer an “Oxford University Summer Program” from July 16-20. The registration fee of $1,295 per person includes four nights lodging at Magdalen College in Oxford, all meals, education programs and materials.

Attendance at both programs will fulfill all 25 required MCLE hours. Participants may attend either or both programs.

More information is available at calbar.ca.gov/litigation or by calling 415-538-2546.

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.

Bar 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.

Got questions? Call the Member Services Center

The State Bar has opened a Member Services Center with a toll-free number, 1-888-800-3400, for active and inactive lawyers seeking information about member benefits, services and regulatory compliance.

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