California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 2001
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - November 2001
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News / News Briefs
Applicants sought to oversee bar's diversion program
Let's have another cup of - legal advice
Foundation leads students to capital
Six honored for professional service
Warwick, six others named to California Judicial Council
Several thousand lawyers suspended for failing to pay dues, certify MCLE
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Trials Digest
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Opinion
From the President - Remembering the fallen
The rule of law is our strongest weapon
Pro bono work is lawyers' duty
Letters to the Editor
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Law Practice - Success: The top eight requirements
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You Need to Know
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MCLE Self-Study
Planning for education expenses
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - Lawyers move on in usual way despite disaster
Former city councilman spent his son's settlement
Attorney Discipline
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Public Comment

YOU NEED TO KNOW

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State Bar of CaliforniaAOC launches web site for families and courts

The Administrative Office of the Courts' Center for Families, Children & the Courts (CFCC) has launched a new web site that provides both court professionals and court users a valuable source for information on family and juvenile law and the legal process. The site is located at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/programs/cfcc.

Primary audiences of the new site are judicial officers, attorneys and court professionals. Information includes juvenile case law summaries, training opportunities, grant applications, publications and other research materials.

The site also addresses the concerns of family members, children and others involved in court proceedings. For example, site users can learn about court services; visit the FAQs section; view an interactive activity booklet that teaches children about the court system; or download online publications on topics such as foster parenting, juvenile dependency, and divorce.

The Judicial Council also recently introduced a web site offering free help for the 4.3 million Californians who represent themselves in court each year. The California Courts Online Self-Help Center debuted July 17 at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp.

The site offers more than 900 pages of tools, resources and links for legal assistance in the areas most needed by self-represented litigants, including divorce, domestic violence, child custody/support, traffic and small claims.

Chief Justice Ronald George reported the site received more than a million hits in the five weeks after it began.

Fee arbitrators needed

The State Bar seeks fee arbitrators for its mandatory fee arbitration program. Arbitrators serve for a minimum term of two years. Attorney applicants must be active members in good standing of the State Bar of California for a minimum of five years.

Criminal lawyers are encouraged to apply.

For more information, please contact Jill Sperber, Director, Office of Mandatory Fee Arbitration at 415/538-2023.

MCLE deadline for Group 3 (last names N-Z) is Feb. 1

Attorneys who are members of MCLE Compliance Group 3 (last names beginning N-Z) must complete 25 hours of continuing education by the compliance deadline of Feb. 1, 2002. Those who did not complete the previously required 36 hours by Feb. 1, 1999, have until Feb. 1, 2002, to complete a total of 61 hours.

A late fee of $75 will be assessed March 15 for those who have not complied.

Questions about MCLE compliance may be directed to 415/538-2100.

Nominations sought for Aranda Award

The California Commission on Access to Justice is seeking nominations for the Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award. Only three years old, the award honors the judge who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to improving access to the courts and who has personally done significant work in improving access for low and moderate income Californians.

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the State Bar's website, www.calbar.org, and must be submitted by Oct. 12 to Mary Viviano, Director, Legal Services Outreach, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105-1639.

The award will be made jointly by the Judicial Council, the California Judges Association and the State Bar and will be presented at the California Judicial Administration Conference early next year.

Questions may be directed to Mary Viviano at 415/538-2251.

Sample fee agreements available for $5 per set

The State Bar offers sample fee agreement forms for $5 per set. Each set contains two sample hourly agreements (one for litigation matters and one for non-litigation matters) and one sample for contingent matters. In addition, the set contains samples of 11 other clauses that may be of interest.

You may purchase these by sending a check for $5, payable to State Bar of California, for each set requested to: State Bar of California - Mandatory Fee Arbitration, 180 Howard Street, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-1639.

Fee arb training scheduled in Merced Oct. 18

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at a training program in Merced sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration. The free training offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of legal ethics.

The training is scheduled for Oct. 18 from 5 - 8 p.m. in the staff dining room at Merced College, 3600 M Street. It is for arbitrators for the Merced and Stanislaus County bar associations, as well as interested attorneys from Madera, Tuolumne and Mariposa counties. State Bar fee arbitrators also are welcome to attend.

Among the topics for discussion are how to write an enforceable award, conflicts of interest, disclosure requirements and how to control the proceeding.

To register, call the Merced bar's fee arbitration committee at 209/723-4633 or 209/723-2137 or e-mail dthelen@elite.net.

For more information, contact Jill Sperber, director of the State Bar's fee arbitration program, at 415/538-2023.

7th printing for pamphlet: When You Become 18

When You Become 18, a booklet designed to help teenagers understand the consequences of breaking the law, has been updated in a seventh printing. Produced by California Law Advocates, this survival guide for young adults is provided to schools at the request of teachers and has reached more than 2 million high school students.

The updated version includes a new section on road rage and expanded information about sexual harassment, and also covers such areas as voting, jury duty, marriage, divorce, child support, date rape and the illegality of child pornography on the internet.

The booklet is funded by CLA chapters as well as grants from foundations including the Foundation of the State Bar.

Information about obtaining copies of When You Become 18 is available from the bar foundation at 415/538-2168 or by writing to CLA at P.O. Box 8905, Calabassas, CA 91372.

Comment sought on electronic communications

The California Law Review Commission seeks public comment on a recommendation to revise three sections of the Evidence Code as they relate to electronic communications and evidentiary privileges.

Full text of the proposal is online at www.clrc.ca.gov; follow the public comment link.

The commission also is seeking suggestions for other reforms needed to adapt the Evidence Code for electronic communications.

Comments should be submitted to the commission at 4000 Middlefield Rd., Room D-1, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4739. The deadline is Oct. 15.

Antitrust dinner scheduled

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Charles A. James, assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust division, will address the ninth annual Antitrust Golden State Institute this month.

Thomas Greene, senior assistant attorney general for the California Department of Justice, will be honored at the institute as the lawyer of the year.

Full details about the institute, which will be held Oct. 18 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco, are online at http://www.calbar.org/antitrust/index.htm. For more information, call 415/538-2508.

In addition, the section just released California Antitrust Law (Second) Vol. II. To order a copy, call 415/538-2554.