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Thinking of changing careers? Bar can help

The State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program will offer a six-week workshop in Los Angeles to help lawyers learn strategies for taking their career to the next level.

The program includes advice on identifying career goals, creating a game plan, developing skills to eliminate barriers to success and connecting with a supportive community of other professionals.

The sessions, from Sept. 16 to Oct. 21, last an hour and a half, once a week. The fee is $75 and the program offers one hour of MCLE credit.

The bar also will offer a one-day program Oct. 1 in San Francisco. The morning session is called “300 Things You Can Do With a Law Degree,” and the afternoon session will address “the promises and pitfalls” of transitioning to a new career. The fee for attending a half day is $15 and the full day fee is $25. Attendance at the afternoon session includes one hour of MCLE credit.

To register or obtain additional information, contact Richard Carlton, 415-538-2355 or lap@calbar.ca.gov.

E-mail address will be required starting Feb. 1

All California attorneys must provide an e-mail address to the State Bar beginning Feb. 1, 2010, under a new rule of court approved by the Supreme Court. Inactive lawyers over 70 are exempt from the new requirement.

Under Rule 9.7, all members of the State Bar must create an online profile through the bar’s secure membership system. Currently, 150,000 lawyers already have done so and they need do nothing further.

But on Feb. 1, attorneys who move will be able to change their address and phone number only by changing their individual record by logging on to My State Bar Profile at calbar.ca.gov. Online address change capability has been available for several years and is widely used. In 2008, 58,000 address changes were processed, 40,000 online. The remainder were processed manually.

Lawyers are statutorily required to keep their addresses updated within 30 days of a move.

The private e-mails will be recorded in the bar’s database and will be used only for official communications, such as courtesy reminders related to deadlines and updates of new regulations that affect members. Attorneys also will have the option to provide a public e-mail address, which will be available to the public on the bar’s Web site.

Notification of disciplinary or regulatory proceedings that may lead to a loss of license will continue to be sent through regular mail.

In addition to the 150,000 private e-mails the bar now has, another 30,000 lawyers have provided a public address. About 40,000 lawyers have not provided an e-mail address.

Although not required by the rule, the bar’s administrative policy will provide an exemption to inactive lawyers over 70. In addition, lawyers who do not have an e-mail address may apply for an exemption by completing a form provided by the bar.

The member services center (1-888-800-3400) will conduct an outreach campaign in the coming months in order to fully apprise the membership of the new requirement.

Fee arb trainings set in Marin, San Bernardino

The State Bar Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration has scheduled fee arbitration trainings Sept. 17 in Marin County and Oct. 2 in San Bernardino County. Each session offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including an hour of legal ethics. The free trainings are open to volunteers who arbitrate attorney-client fee disputes through the local bar or State Bar fee arb programs.

They will cover topics including how to write an enforceable award, statute of limitations, disclosure requirements and conflicts of interest.

The Marin training will be held from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Marin Nonprofit Resource Center, 555 Northgate Dr., San Rafael. To reserve a space, call 415-499-1314 or e-mail Jan Salas at jsalas@30nsp.org.

The San Bernardino training is scheduled from noon – 3 p.m. at 385 N. Arrowhead. To reserve a space, call 909-885-1986 or e-mail Claire Furness at claire@sbcba.org.

For further information, call Jill Sperber at 415-538-2023.

Five vacancies on legal services board

Attorneys interested in serving on the board of directors for Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) are invited to apply for one of five vacant three-year positions. Applicants must practice or reside in the county or region with a vacancy — Mother Lode-El Dorado (one opening), Butte (two), Shasta (one) and Sacramento (one).

The application deadline is Nov. 4.

LSNC provides legal assistance to low-income residents of 23 northern California counties. Its 36-member board meets five times a year to make policy decisions governing the program’s operations.

Interested 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 addressed to chris.zupanovich@calbar.ca.gov or by calling 415-538-2534.

Amnesty for some suspended attorneys

Any attorney suspended for non-payment of State Bar membership fees for 2008 and earlier may take advantage of an amnesty program approved by the board of governors in July.

Under a new bar rule, a lawyer may be able to regain his or her license by paying half of the amount owed from 2008 and earlier, plus the full amount of dues owed for 2009. Attorneys suspended for other reasons, such as non-compliance with MCLE requirements or disciplinary actions, must resolve those issues separately.

For further information, call 1-888-800-3400 or e-mail msc@calbar.ca.gov.

Judicial Council issues closure schedule

All California state courts will close on the third Wednesday of each month, from September 2009 through June 2010. The first day of the closures will be Sept. 16. The Judicial Council approved the closures due to the unprecedented statewide fiscal crisis and judicial branch budget reductions.

All state courts are affected: the California Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeal, and the superior courts.

The 2009 court closure days are Sept. 16, Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16; in 2010, the courts will be closed Jan. 20, Feb. 17, March 17, April 21, May 19 and June 16.

Closure days are to be counted as holidays for the purpose of computing time for statutory deadlines.

See the full report at: courtinfo.ca.gov/jc/documents/age072909.pdf.

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