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State Bar Foundation changes its name

As part of an effort to build a stronger and more visible identity in California’s legal community, the State Bar’s foundation has changed its name and is now known as the California Bar Foundation.

“We believe the new name is an important step in ‘rebranding’ the foundation,” said Executive Director Leslie Hatamiya. “It is short, to the point and captures that we are a part of the State Bar family. We believe we are on the road to creating a stronger identity for the foundation, raising greater awareness of our programs and taking our fundraising to the next level.”

The foundation also has a new Web site address: www.calbarfoundation.org.

The foundation was created in 1990 as the charitable arm of the State Bar and has distributed more than $6.2 million in grants to community organizations, legal aid agencies, courts, local, minority and specialty bar associations and to the State Bar, and it has awarded scholarships for law students who pursue public service.

As it begins its 17th year, the foundation recently refocused its efforts and changed both its approach to fundraising and grant-giving. It launched an aggressive development campaign, targeting large law firms, with the goal of increasing law firm donations to at least $130,000 in 2007.

It will continue to rely on the bar’s fee statement, which offers a check-off box to all lawyers who wish to make a tax-deductible donation. So far this year, the check-off has raised $435,000.

The foundation also has expanded a bar exam scholarship program and this year provided seed money to the State Bar for diversity outreach efforts and for creation of a law student division.

Hatamiya said that despite its financial support for a variety of programs over the years, the foundation has maintained a relatively low profile within the legal community.

“By relaunching as the California Bar Foundation,” she said, “we want to bring increased attention to the important work that our program beneficiaries are doing to serve the critical legal needs of an increasingly diverse California and to the countless attorneys, law firms and other supporters whose generous contributions make our programs possible. Our efforts generate immeasurable good will for the state’s entire legal community.”

Five seats open on State Bar, young lawyer boards

Ballots will be mailed May 1 to eligible voters in the four districts with openings on the State Bar Board of Governors and the California Young Lawyers Association board of directors. Each board has five upcoming vacancies. Voting must be completed July 2. 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).

Lawyer members of the board of governors are elected for three-year terms and will assume their offices at the conclusion of the 2007 Annual Meeting.

Ethics Symposium set for May 19 in Los Angeles

The State Bar will hold its 11th Annual Statewide Ethics Symposium May 19 in Los Angeles, bringing together California’s leading experts on attorney ethics. The event offers advanced programs for lawyers in all practice areas and explores emerging ethics issues.

This year’s theme is “Ethics Around the Edges” and will include sessions on transactional practice; the effectiveness of advocacy without deception; emerging issues in collaborative family law; and challenges facing corporate counsel in their role as employee, gatekeeper and advocate. An update will be presented on the work of the bar’s Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

The symposium will be held at the Southwestern Law School, whose dean, Bryant Garth, will deliver the keynote address. Further details and registration information are at calbar.ca.gov/ ethics or by calling Audrey Hollins at 415-538-2167.

MCLE credit in ethics will be given.

Applicants sought for judge evaluation commission

The State Bar is seeking active members of the bar, former members of the judiciary and members of the public who are interested in volunteering to serve on the 2008 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE Commission).

Information on the commission and time commitment are available at calbar.ca.gov (select links to Attorney Resources/Committees and Commissions/Other Entity Appointments) or from the bar’s appointments office, 415-538-2299; or 415-538-2255 (fax).

The application deadline is June 1.

Fee arb trainings scheduled

Two refresher courses for volunteer attorneys who serve local and State Bar mandatory fee arbitration programs, as well as instruction for new volunteers, will be held in San Mateo and San Diego 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.

One training session will be held April 30, from 2 – 5 p.m., at the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors offices, 450 County Center, Redwood City. To reserve a space, contact Deborah Kemper, 650/298-4018, or deborahk@smcba.org.

The second training is May 10, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., at the San Diego County Bar Association, 1333 Seventh Ave. To RSVP, call 619-231-0781.

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

Aranda Award nominations are now available

The California Commission on Access to Justice is seeking nominations of a California judge for the annual Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award. The award honors a judge who deserves recognition for his or her long-term commitment to improving access to the judicial system for low- and moderate-income persons, and who has personally done significant work in improving such access.

The recipient will be selected by the commission with input from the Judicial Council, the State Bar and the California Judges Association. Nominations are due May 1.

Further information is available from Chris Zupanovich, 415-538-2534 or chris.zupanovich@calbar.ca.gov.

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.

Revised form approved for client’s right to arbitration

The State Bar Board of Governors has approved a revised notice of Client’s Right to Arbitration form that took effect April 1. Lawyers are required by statute to forward this version of the notice form to the client before or at the time of filing a lawsuit against a client to collect unpaid attorney’s fees and/or costs.

The form advises clients of their right to request mandatory fee arbitration to resolve a pending attorney fee dispute.

It is available at calbar.ca.gov.

Young lawyers invited to take an online survey

If you are 36 years of age or younger, or have five years or less of active practice, the State Bar and the California Young Lawyers Association invite you to participate in an online survey. The questions can be accessed on CYLA’s home page, calbar.ca.gov/cyla, or by entering talkingpolls.com/go/cyla2 in your browser.

Those wishing to participate also may request an e-mail or fax copy of the survey by calling the Office of Bar Relations Outreach at 213-765-1329 or 213-765-1337.

The deadline to complete the survey is May 4.

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.

Non-payers face suspension

Attorneys who still have not paid their State Bar dues will receive a final delinquent notice this month and face possible suspension. The bar mailed more than 22,000 second notices to lawyers who did not pay their dues by Feb. 1. The final notice will be mailed April 27.

Active lawyers who missed the deadline were penalized $100 and inactives $30.

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