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Feedback sought for draft lawyer civility standards

The Attorney Civility Task Force is seeking feedback from California lawyers on the initial draft of voluntary standards of civility and professionalism. Although some bar associations have adopted guidelines or standards for their members, California lacks a single set of civility standards for use statewide. The draft standards are intended to complement these other existing standards, not replace or supersede them, and to be used by members in geographic areas that do not have any guidelines in place.

A perceived decline in civility in the legal profession prompted State Bar President Shelly Sloan to create the task force. Following consideration of informal feedback, the task force will ask the board of governors to authorize a public comment period in May.

Public hearings on the proposed civility standards will be held in San Francisco (March 14) and Los Angeles (March 28).

To obtain a copy of the initial draft, contact Mary Yen at mary.yen@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2369, or Teri Greenman at teri.greenman@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2454, or go to the link below. Direct written comments to Mary Yen or Teri Greenman at 180 Howard St., San Francisco CA 94105, by March 20.

DRAFT-California Attorney Standards of Civility & Professionalism (Summary and Long Version)

Five seats open on bar board

Applications for the five upcoming vacancies on the State Bar Board of Governors are available. Seats are open in the following districts:

  • DISTRICT 2: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Tuolumne and Yolo counties;
  • DISTRICT 3: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties;
  • DISTRICT 4: Marin and San Francisco counties; and
  • DISTRICT 7: Los Angeles County (two seats).

Any active member of the State Bar who maintains his or her principal office for the practice of law in the district in which there is a vacancy is eligible to run for a seat on the board. Lawyer members are elected for three-year terms and will assume their offices at the conclusion of the 2007 Annual Meeting.

The application form and other information is on the Web site.

CYLA election information

Legal services awards nomination forms are available online

The guidelines and nomination forms for the State Bar’s legal services awards are available. The awards are:

  • The Loren Miller Legal Services Award, given annually to a lawyer who has demonstrated long-term commitment to legal services and who has personally done significant work in extending legal services to the poor.
  • The President’s Pro Bono Service Awards recognize California attorneys who have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services to poor persons or to organizations whose primary purpose is to provide legal services to the poor, free-of-charge, without expectation of compensation from the client.
  • The Jack Berman Individual Award of Achievement for Distinguished Service to the Profession and the Public recognizes the substantial achievements of a young lawyer.
  • The Diversity Awards recognize outstanding efforts made by a bar association and an individual attorney in promoting diversity in the legal profession, and in particular, to recognize efforts ensuring the full and equal opportunity of all persons for entry and advancement in California’s legal profession.

Nomination forms are available on the State Bar Web site, calbar.ca.gov, by calling 415-538-2328 or by e-mailing programdevelopment@calbar.ca.gov. The deadline to submit postmarked nominations is March 30. The awards will be presented at the bar’s annual meeting in September.

Fee arb trainings scheduled

Three refresher courses for volunteer attorneys who serve local and State Bar mandatory fee arbitration programs, as well as instruction for new volunteers, will be offered in March in Placer, Tulare and Fresno counties. The free trainings, offered by the bar’s Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration, offer 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of ethics and 1.75 hours of general credit.

Speakers will address recent developments in fee arbitration and subjects that include how to write an enforceable award, conflicts of interest, arbitrator disclosure requirements and how to control the proceeding.

The following training sessions are scheduled:

  • March 1 — At the Ridge Golf Course, 2020 Golf Course Rd., Auburn, from 1 – 4 p.m. To reserve a space, contact Executive Office Services at eos7@sbcglobal.net or 530-885-6531.
  • March 21 — At the Workforce Investment Board, 4025 W. Noble Ave., Suite A, Visalia, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. To reserve a space, contact Shari Pratt of the Tulare County Bar Association at tularecobar@saber.net or 559-732-2513.
  • March 22 — At the Downtown Club, 2120 Kern St., Fresno, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. To reserve a space, call the Fresno County Bar Association, 559-264-2619 or e-mail bobbielee@fresnocountybar.org.

For additional information (not RSVP), contact Jill Sperber at 415-538-2023.

Create an online profile

California attorneys have the opportunity to handle membership matters with the State Bar electronically by creating My State Bar Profile on the bar’s home page.

Doing so will allow lawyers to pay their bar dues and submit MCLE compliance online, as well as access important forms such as change of address or change of status, obtain a duplicate bar card and keep abreast of the latest developments in professional responsibility.

To create a profile, you will need the eight-digit access code printed on the front of the 2007 annual fee statement. Just go to the bar’s home page, calbar.ca.gov, and click on the link in the left-hand menu to register as a first-time user. If you have lost your access code, call the Member Services Center at 888/800-3400.

Four openings on northern Cal legal services board

The State Bar is seeking applications from lawyers interested in serving on the board of directors for Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC). The board has four three-year positions — two in the Sacramento region, one in the Yolo region and one in the Solano region. Applicants must practice or reside in the county or region where there is an opening.

The deadline for receipt of applications is March 16.

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

Applicants should send a letter and resume, including their bar number, to: Chris Zupanovich, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639. Questions may be directed to her at 415-538-2534 or chris.zupanovich@calbar.ca.gov.

Mentoring program expands to San Francisco

VIP Mentors, formerly known as Volunteers in Parole Inc., has expanded its program for adult male and female parolees to San Francisco, where they will be matched with volunteer attorneys who will help guide them through parole, a job search and a new start on life. The expansion builds on existing programs for both adult parolees and juvenile wards throughout the state.

The new program is funded primarily through a contract with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

VIP mentors serve as guides, advisors, friends and role models for parolees and address whatever problems and issues their matches face. VIP parolees have a success rate of 70 percent or higher in avoiding recidivism.

Attorneys interested in becoming mentors in San Francisco can contact Maija Grasis at 415-557-0167 or vip-sf@vipmentors.com. Additional information can be found at vipmentors.org.

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.

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