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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 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 (1-888-800-3400) will conduct an outreach campaign to fully apprise the membership of the new requirement.

Discipline, admissions hearings set for Dec. 8, 10

The State Bar will hold two hearings, in Los Angeles and San Francisco, to hear public and attorney input on attorney disciplinary procedures, attorney competency and admissions procedures.

The San Francisco hearing will be held Dec. 8 at the bar’s headquarters, 180 Howard St. The Los Angeles session will be Dec. 10 in the bar building at 1149 South Hill St. Both hearings will begin at 10 a.m.

Individuals who wish to speak at the hearing or submit written materials should contact Doug Hull at 415-538-2015 or at doug.hull@calbar.ca.gov by Dec. 4.

Judicial Council, ABA delegate openings

The State Bar is seeking applicants for positions on the ABA House of Delegates and the California Judicial Council.

Six positions are open in the ABA House of Delegates when the terms of six current delegates expire in August. State Bar delegates serve two-year terms and may serve three consecutive terms. Eligible incumbents who have served less than three consecutive terms may apply for reappointment. Delegates must be an ABA member in good standing, and are required to pay their own travel expenses, attend the ABA midyear and annual meetings and participate in conference calls.

One position is open on the Judicial Council. Four lawyer members of the 27-member council are appointed by the State Bar. Members serve staggered three-year terms. The council meets six to seven times a year with an annual time commitment of about 300 hours.

Detailed information is available at calbar.ca.gov; select links to Committees and Commissions and to Other Entity Appointments.

The application deadline for the positions on both entities is Feb. 1.

Nov. 10 hearing on new professional conduct rules

The State Bar’s Rules Revision Commission will hold a hearing Nov. 10 on proposed changes to the California Rules of Professional Conduct that govern all lawyers in the state. The hearing will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the State Bar’s San Francisco office at 180 Howard St.

Those interested in speaking at the hearing must register or present written materials by Nov. 6.

Information is available at calbar.ca.gov/ethics (go to Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct) or by contacting Audrey Hollins at audrey.hollins@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2167.

The Commission is currently focusing on 11 proposed new or amended rules that are circulating for public comment. The proposals can be found at calbar.ca.gov, at the public comment link. Topics include scope of representation, confidentiality of information, duties to former clients and responsibilities of a prosecutor and choice of law, which are circulating for a public comment.

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.

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.

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; MarketYourLawPractice.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.

Judicial Council issues court closure schedule

All California state courts are closed on the third Wednesday of each month through June 2010. 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 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.

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

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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