California Bar Journal
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State Bar of CaliforniaTwo boards seek volunteer members

The State Bar is seeking applicants for the boards of two California legal services programs.

Two positions are open on the 45-member Board of Directors of California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA). The Board of Trustees of California Indian Legal Services (CILS), which has 13 members, has one position available. The deadline for applications for each board is Sept. 1.

Both non-profit programs are funded by the Legal Services Corp. and the boards meet four times a year. CRLA board terms last two years; the terms on the CILS board last three years.

Interested attorneys should send a resume and a letter listing the reasons they should be appointed. Applications should be addressed to Judy Garlow, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105; 415/538-2545.

40 percent pass bar exam

The Committee of Bar Exam-iners reported that 40 percent of 4,476 applicants who took the February 2000 bar exam passed, a rate slightly less than the 41.1 percent pass rate for the February exam in 1999. This year’s success rate ties the February 1998 results in setting a 10-year low.

If the 1,790 successful applicants meet other requirements for admission, they will swell the ranks of California lawyers to more than 170,000.

Thirty-two percent of the test-takers were first time applicants, and among that group, 51.3 percent passed. The passing rate for the repeat applicants was 34.7 percent.

The committee also announced that just over half — 53.5 percent — of the 316 lawyers who took the Attorneys’ Examination passed.

Ballots mailed this month for State Bar elections

Ballots were to be mailed July 7 for elections for the State Bar Board of Governors and the board of the California Young Lawyers Association. Attorneys whose place of business is in one of the five bar districts with an open seat are eligible to vote.

Open seats for both board are in districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9. (See        

The successful candidates will be sworn in at the bar’s Annual Meeting in San Diego in September.

Kids and the Law online

Kids and the Law: An A-Z Guide for Parents has been updated to reflect changes in laws affecting the state’s young people and is now available on the State Bar’s web site.

The popular booklet, first published in 1996, offers relevant, accessible, easy-to-understand information on a wide range of laws and legal issues involving children in California.

The revised booklet can be accessed at

The booklet covers young people’s rights and responsibilities and the legal aspects of a large number of topics, including alcohol, drugs, police and school.

Two lawyers, law firm receive pro bono honors

Two California attorneys and a San Francisco law firm will receive Pro Bono Publico Awards from the American Bar Association this month in recognition of their outstanding contributions in extending legal services to the poor and disadvantaged.

Anil Mehta, of Buena Park, Charles E. Patterson of Los Angeles, and San Francisco-based Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe were to receive the awards at the ABA meeting in New York July 10.

Mehta, who was honored by the State Bar last year for his pro bono work, contributed nearly 2,000 hours of legal assistance to clients of the Public Law Center in Santa Ana. Mehta began his legal career after losing an arm in an industrial accident; he was previously a mining engineer.

Patterson has long been active in pro bono cases involving Vietnam veterans and handled the case of Manuel Babbitt, a Death Row inmate who was convicted of the 1981 murder of a 78-year-old woman. Although Babbitt was executed, Patterson was able to show his prior lawyer made several errors and he raised public support for Babbitt because of mental illness.

Heller Ehrman has a long tradition of performing pro bono work. Both the firm’s management and its lawyers make a commitment to pro bono work integral to their work ethic. It has handled cases including homeless, civil rights, veterans’ rights and environmental issues.

LSC grant funds available

Competitive grant funds to provide civil legal services to eligible clients next year are available through the Legal Services Corporation (LSC).

Applicants were required to file a notice of intent to compete (NIC) to participate in the competitive grant process by June 30 and grant proposals are due July 17.

Grants are available only in specified service areas. A listing of the service areas for each state, and the estimated grant amounts, can be found at (Appendix A of the Request for Proposals). The Request for Proposals also is available at that web site. E-mail inquiries to Competition@LSC.GOV. Fax inquiries to 1-877/378-9997.

Certification exam July 29

The National Board of Trial Advocacy, a national non-profit organization established to certify attorneys as specialists in the areas of civil, criminal and family law trial advocacy, will administer its certification examination July 29 in 37 locations throughout the U.S., in-cluding San Francisco and San Diego.

The day-long essay exam, one part of the certification application, tests comprehensive practical knowledge of trial practice, ethics and evidence relevant to particular specialties.

Information is available at the NBTA web site: