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California Bar Foundation seeks new board members

The California Bar Foundation is seeking applications for several positions on its board of directors for terms beginning Jan. 1. Applicants may be attorneys, judges or members of the public who have a demonstrated interest in and commitment to the foundation's charitable mission; who have previous board, public or community service; or who are knowledgeable about charitable fundraising.

Board members serve two-year terms and are expected to attend approximately five board meetings per year in San Francisco or Los Angeles and participate on at least two committees, whose meetings usually are conducted by conference call. Membership may also require attendance at the State Bar Annual Meeting, meetings of the bar board of governors and other foundation events.

Board members are expected to participate in fundraising and to make a personally significant financial contribution to the foundation annually.

Applicants must submit a resume and a statement of qualifications to: Leslie Hatamiya, Executive Director, California Bar Foundation, 180 Howard St., San Francisco CA 94105; 415-856-0788 (fax); lhatamiya@calbarfoundation.org.

The application deadline is Aug. 17 and the bar board of governors will make the appointments in November.

Information about the foundation and its programs can be found at cal barfoundation.org.

Support for lawyers with alcohol and drug problems

Northern California lawyers concerned about drug and/or alcohol issues now have the option of a secular peer support network administered by Oakland-based LifeRing Secular Recovery. Named Lawyer's LifeRing, the option is available in addition to the statewide peer support network called The Other Bar, an affiliate of International Lawyers in Alcoholics Anonymous. 

The State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) provides professional counseling for California lawyers who have substance abuse and/or mental health issues. The LAP, staffed by licensed and certified professionals in the addiction and mental health field, frequently refers attorneys to peer support group meetings.

The State Bar has a contract for peer counseling services with both LifeRing and The Other Bar in order to provide attorneys with free, confidential connections with lawyers who have "been there" and achieved sustained abstinence from alcohol and other drugs of abuse.  

A new Web site, lawyerslifering.org, provides contact information and further details about Lawyer's LifeRing. The Other Bar's Web site is otherbar.org.

Further information is available from Richard P. Carlton, MPH, LAP, 415-538-2355; richard.carlton@calbar.ca.gov, or Martin Nicolaus, M.A., J.D., Lawyer's LifeRing, 800-811-4142; lawyers@lifering.org, unhooked.com.

Lawyers who didn't pay dues face suspension

More than 3,700 lawyers face the possible loss of their law license for failing to pay their annual bar dues, after the board of governors forwarded their names to the Supreme Court last month. If the usual pattern holds, many of that group will avoid suspension by paying their dues and penalties before Aug. 16, the day the suspensions will take effect.

The board also sent to the court the names of 1,893 lawyers who did not complete their MCLE requirements. They also will lose their law license Aug. 16.

Last year, the names of 4,910 lawyers were sent to the court for non-payment of dues; 1,738 wound up being suspended. This year, 3,701 names, about 2 percent of the State Bar membership, went to the court.

The board also approved a proposal to expunge the membership records of 1,275 attorneys who were suspended one time for non-payment of dues. In order to qualify for the expungement, the suspension must have ended more than seven years ago and cannot have exceeded 90 days and the attorney may not have any record of suspension or involuntary inactive enrollment.

Fee arb trainings scheduled

Two training sessions for prospective and current volunteer attorneys who arbitrate attorney-client fee disputes for mandatory fee arbitration programs through the Sonoma and Napa county bar associations and the State Bar will be held next month. The Sonoma training is Sept. 20, from 5 - 8 p.m., and the Napa training is Sept. 21, from 2 - 5 p.m.

Both sessions are free and offer 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of legal ethics. Non-lawyers also are encouraged to attend.

The trainings will cover recent case law as well as topics including how to write an enforceable award, conflicts of interest, the statute of limitations and arbitrator disclosure requirements.

To reserve a space at the Sonoma session, which will be at the bar association offices in Santa Rosa, call 707-542-1190 or e-mail patti@sonomacountybar.org. Indicate whether you are a current arbitrator.

The Napa session will be held at the Napa Women's Club; to reserve a space, call Dean Kackley at 707-252-9000 or e-mail dkackley@gawvanmale.com.

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. 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.

Display your artistic talent

Members of the bench and bar who draw, sculpt or work in ceramics or photography are invited to participate in the 55th Annual Meeting Bench and Bar Art Exhibit. The artwork will be showcased at the meeting in September.

Awards will be given in the following 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 at www.calbar.ca.gov/archive/calbar/annualmeeting, or obtained by calling 415-538-2210. Entries must be submitted by Aug. 27.

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