California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - April 2001
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News / News Briefs
Bar foundation gives $50,000 grant to fund Conference of Delegates
Bar hit with $2.35 million fee demand in lawyer dues case
Bush administration ends ABA review of judicial candidates
Special publication in May Bar Journal
Davis appoints two public members to board of governors
George lauds five years of reform
2001 Annual Meeting will be held in Anaheim
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Trials Digest
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Legal Tech - FindLaw: Lawyers' home on the web
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From the President - Butter a slice, not a full loaf
Is it wrong to copy a song?
Letters to the Editor
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Update on ethics
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MCLE Self-Study
Kids and the Law
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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You Need to Know
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Public Comment
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Ethics Byte - 2 new rulings send litigators back to basics
Forgery, grand theft, fraud convictions lead to resignation
Attorney Discipline


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Public service award nominations sought

The State Bar invites nominations for attorneys whose accomplishments have served the public and the legal profession. Nominations for the 2001 President's Pro Bono Service Awards, the Loren Miller Legal Services Award and the Jack Berman Award of Achievement for Distinguished Service to the Profession and the Public must be submitted by May 11.

The pro bono awards have been reconfigured this year and will be presented in the following categories: corporate (employed by a corporation), government (employed by a local, state or federal agency), retired (enrolled in the State Bar's emeritus attorney program), recently admitted (first four years of practice), large law firm (100 or more in California), medium law firm (11-99 in California), small law firm (2-10 in California) and sole practitioner. In each category except sole practitioner, the award can be given to an individual or a team of attorneys.

Factors to be considered include the breadth and impact of the nominee's work and practice setting, the nature of the pro bono program through which the work is done, nature of the services, and evidence of the nominee's continuing commitment to pro bono work.

All award recipients must be California lawyers who provided pro bono legal services in 2000.

The Loren Miller Legal Services Award is presented to a lawyer who demonstrates a long-term commitment to legal services and who personally extended legal services to the poor.

Guidelines for criteria and nomination forms for both awards are available at or from Kate O'Connor at 415/538-2141 or

The Jack Berman Award, named in honor of a young attorney who was killed in the 101 California St. massacre in San Francisco, is given by the California Young Lawyers Association. It recognizes individual accomplishments provided through a program, project and/or special event, whether or not coordinated by a local barrister association.

Any active bar member who is in the first five years of practice or who is 36 or under may be nominated.

Additional information about the award is available from Martin Morales, 415/538-2316, or Rodney Low, 415/538-2219.

All awards will be presented at the State Bar Annual Meeting in September.

Five seats open on State Bar and CYLA boards

Five seats on the State Bar Board of Governors and the California Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors are up for election and interested candidates may pick up nominating petitions April 9.

The available positions are in District 2 (Alpine, Amador, Calaver-as, El Dorado, Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Tuolomne and Yolo counties); District 3 (Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties); District 4 (Marin and San Francisco counties); and District 7 (Los Angeles, two seats open).

Any active California attorney whose law practice is located within any of the districts is eligible to run for the State Bar board. CYLA candidates must be in their first five years of active bar membership or be age 36 and under and work in the district where there is a vacancy.

Members of each board serve three-year terms and will assume their seats at the conclusion of the bar's 2001 annual meeting.

Petitions must be filed by May 25 and ballots will be mailed July 2. Voting will end Aug. 17.

Petitions for the board of governors may be obtained from Biljanna Sivanov, 415/538-2274, or on the bar's website, Full details about the election also will be available online.

Information about the CYLA election is available by contacting Martin Morales, 415/538-2316, or Rodney Low, 415/538-2219.

Fee arbitrator training set for May 3 in Sacramento

A training session is scheduled May 3 for volunteers who arbitrate attorney-client fee disputes for the mandatory fee arbitration programs through the local county bars in Sacramento, Yolo, and Butte counties and/or the State Bar of California.  Persons interested in becoming arbitrators also are invited.

The session is sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration and the Sacramento County Bar Association. It will be held from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Sacramento Capitol Club, 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 600, Sacramento. Attendees will receive 2.75 hours of MCLE credit.

Speakers will address recent developments in fee arbitration and other topics such as writing an enforceable award, statute of limitations, conflicts of interest, arbitrator disclosure requirements and controlling the proceeding.

To register, contact the Sacra-mento County Bar Association at 916/448-1087. For more information, contact Jill Sperber, director of the State Bar's Office of Mandatory Fee Arbitration at 415/538-2023.

Seats open on Orange Co. legal services board

The State Bar is seeking applications from attorneys interested in serving on the board of directors of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County. The 20-member board meets four times a year to make policy decisions governing the program's operations. The term of office is three years.

Interested attorneys should apply by letter stating the reasons they should be appointed, and include a resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background. Materials should be sent to Denise Teraoka, Legal Services Trust Fund Program, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105. Questions may be directed to 415/538-2545.

The deadline for applications is May 1.

Trial advocacy group to offer jury selection course

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy will present "Jury Selection for the 21st Century" May 4 in San Diego. The program will include lectures, mini-demonstrations and participatory discussions. It will focus on addressing voir dire restrictions and obstacles, improving an attorney's questioning technique, receiving good quality information from jurors, and selecting the best jurors for a particular case.

Cost of the program is $179 and participants will earn 7.5 hours of MCLE credit. It will be held at the Westin Horton Plaza, 910 Broadway Circle in San Diego.

Information is available from NITA at 1-800/225-6482 or online at

Women lawyers offer seminar on litigation skills

The State Bar's Committee on Women in the Law will hold a morning seminar April 21 in Santa Barbara on improving litigation techniques in civil and criminal cases.

"Maximizing Your Success and Performance: Litigation Techniques in Civil and Criminal Proceedings; Elimination of Bias in the Legal Profession" is co-sponsored by Santa Barbara Women Lawyers.

The session, which offers MCLE credit, will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at the Santa Barbara Superior Court, Figueroa Division, Department 12, 118 E. Figueroa St.

To register or to obtain further information, contact Jennifer Turgeon at 213/626-7300.

State Bar offers updated consumer pamphlets

Twenty-one consumer education pamphlets, dealing with topics including rent, divorce, wills  and debts, are available from the State Bar.

Six pamphlets have been translated into Spanish, and many are online in English at Order forms for obtaining print copies may be obtained by calling 415/538-2280.

The bar hopes to begin translating some pamphlets into additional languages by the end of this year.

The pamphlets are:

How Can I Find and Hire the Right Lawyer? (also in Spanish);

How Do I Use the Small Claims Court? (also in Spanish);

What Should I Know Before I Rent? (also in Spanish);

What Should I Know if I Am Arrested? (also in Spanish);

What Can I Do If I Can't Pay my Debts? (also in Spanish);

Can the Law Help Protect Me From Domestic Violence? (also in Spanish);

What Should I Know About Divorce and Custody?;

What Should I Do if I Have an Auto Accident?;

What Should I Know About Hate Crimes?;

What Should I Know Before Sign?;

What Should I Know Before I Buy a House?;

What Should I Do If I Am A Crime Victim?; and

What Can I Do If I Have A Problem With My Lawyer?

To order one pamphlet, send a self-addressed stamped envelope for each single pamphlet. Two to 99 copies of any combination of pamphlets are available for 50-cents each, and 100 copies of the same pamphlet cost $35.

Checks payable to the State Bar of California should be sent to: State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105. Attn: Pamphlets.

Inquiries about pamphlets dealing with wills, trusts and estate planning should be directed to 415/538-2206.

Video offers protection from estate planning fraud

A video program designed to present the truth about estate planning scams to senior citizens is available from the State Bar.

Produced by the Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Section, Taking Charge: The Rewards and Risks of Estate Planning will help seniors evaluate and make informed decisions about estate planning proposals they may receive.

It offers advice on how to look for red flags in dealing with businesses that may not have their best interests at heart, how to say no to unwanted solicitations for financial products, and how to get legitimate help with estate planning.

The video is intended to be used in conjunction with a live presentation by a member of the section's speaker's bureau.

It is available to section members for $20 and for $25 to all others. Order information is available at the bar's web site,, by linking to the section and then the product order form.

Pen pals sought for youthful offenders

Volunteers in Parole Inc., a non-profit organization which matches youthful offenders with attorneys who act as mentors, invites lawyers and third-year law students in the Santa Clara area to volunteer as pen pals.

The work, which involves corresponding with young men and women incarcerated in one of 11 California Youth Authority facilities, requires one hour per month. It offers the volunteers a unique opportunity to help incarcerated youth who may parole to the San Jose area within six months and to learn about the criminal justice system.

To sign up or obtain more information, call 408/277-1008.

New legal services directory is available

The 2000-2001 edition of the California Legal Services Directory is available for $25. The directory, prepared by the State Bar's Office of Program Develop-ment, contains listings of all the Legal Services Trust Fund recipients (legal services programs), as well as the support centers, State Bar certified lawyer referral services, dispute resolution programs, and family law facilitators.

To obtain a copy, send a check for $25 to: State Bar of California, Office of Program Development - Directory, 180 Howard St., San Francisco CA 94105-1639. Orders by telephone (415/538-2176) or email ( are accepted.