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Want to volunteer for a bar committee?

The State Bar is recruiting applicants for approximately 200 positions on more than three dozen committees, boards and commissions. Groups with open positions range from committees dealing with access and fairness issues to section executive committees focused on particular areas of the law to a committee addressing questions of professional responsibility and conduct.

Most of the appointments carry a three-year term, and the application deadline for most is Feb. 1.

Applicants can apply to a maximum of three committees but can be appointed to only one. The State Bar Board of Governors will make the appointments in May and July 2010; committee terms begin Sept. 26, 2010.

The application form and more information are available at the calbar.ca.gov (select bottom left-menu link, under Olio, to Appointments Application). Or request an application from the bar’s appointments office by calling 415-538-2318, or faxing 415-538-2255.

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 through their profile.(Go to My State Bar Profile) 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.

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 will conduct an outreach campaign to fully apprise the membership of the new requirement.

Public comment sought on family law proposals

The Elkins Family Law Task Force, created in 2008 to conduct a comprehensive review of family law proceedings and make proposals for improvement, released its draft recommendations Oct. 1 for public comment. “If some of these things are implemented, the cultural change and accountability associated with them will be significant,” said Judge Nancy Wieben Stock, a task force member and presiding judge of the Orange County Superior Court.

The recommendations are divided into 21 subjects, ranging from the importance of scheduling hearings and trials on consecutive days to getting input from children to increased legal representation for litigants. Twenty percent of California courts’ workload is devoted to family law cases, and in some areas of the state, at least one party is self-represented in more than 75 percent of those cases.

A complete list of the task force recommendations can be found at http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jc/tflists/elkins.htm. The public comment period continues through Dec. 4.

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.

Hong Kong CLE program scheduled for Nov. 1-6

The Litigation and Real Property Law sections are planning a continuing legal education program in Hong Kong Nov. 1-6.

Participants can earn 21 hours of MCLE credit and will have numerous networking opportunities for forming relationships on the Pacific Rim.

If you are interested in receiving information, please call or e-mail Kristina Robledo at kristina.robledo@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2467. Full details can be found at www.aweekinlegalhongkong.com.

Judicial Council issues court 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 was 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 remaining 2009 court closure days are 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.

Rent a car from Hertz through CalBar Connect

CalBar Connect, the State Bar’s affinity program offering special benefits to its members, now partners with Hertz to provide discounted rental car rates to bar members. The program offers a 20 percent discount on Hertz’s Daily Member Benefit rates in the United States, waives the enrollment fee for the #1 Club Gold program, and offers discounts on other domestic and international rental rates.

Members can enroll by visiting calbarconnect.com and following the links to the Hertz enrollment page.

CalBar Connect has also added FromYouFlowers.com, which will offer a 20 percent discount on floral and gift items, and H&R Block Tax & Business Services, offering an accounting services package to solo practitioners and small firms.

CalBar Connect, part of the bar’s member services and benefits initiative, provides discounts to all State Bar members.

Other partners include T-mobile Celluar, Lenovo Computers, Core-vault, Lettermark; ESQSites123.com; Threads Apparel & Merchandise; MarketYourLaw Practice.com; Bank of America; UPS; Office Max; Brooks Brothers; and insurance brokers and companies Marsh Affinity, Liberty Mutual and AI&PS.

Complete details are available at calbarconnect.com.

Fee arb training scheduled Oct. 27 in Beverly Hills

The State Bar Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration has scheduled a fee arbitration training for new and current Los Angeles arbitrators Oct. 27. It will be held from 5-8 p.m. at the Beverly Hills Bar Association, 300 So. Beverly Dr., Suite 201.

The training offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including an hour of legal ethics. Topics will include how to write an enforceable award, disclosure requirements and evidence of malpractice.

Seating is limited. To reserve a space, call 310-601-2442. For further information, call Jill Sperber at 415-538-2023.

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