Guide to Legal Literacy is
The State Bar's Guide to Legal Literacy, now
available on the bar's web site, provides a description of the legal
system in clear language for non-lawyers. The site is helpful to those
who need basic answers to legal issues such as those surrounding
divorce and child custody, serious injury lawsuits and court-approved
The focus of the guide is on answering basic
questions: where do laws come from; how is the legal system
structured; how do cases come to court and what happens there; who are
the participants in the legal system and what is their role; how are
legal proceedings conducted? The website provides links to each of
these and other related topics.
For example, in describing the stages of a
criminal case before trial, the guide outlines steps from the grand
jury, to arrest, to entering a plea at arraignment, to discovery. It
differentiates between criminal and civil cases and outlines the
stages of a civil proceeding as well. The role of attorneys and
clients' rights and responsibilities also are explained.
Professor Erwin Chemerinsky, with the Law Center
of the University of Southern California, originally prepared the
booklet in the early 1990s for the State Bar's Law Works and Legal
Resource Centers programs. The material was updated in 2001.
The guide can be found at http://www.calbar.org/2con/leglit/index.htm.
For more information, contact the Office of Media
& Information Services at 415/538-2283 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Nominations sought for four
State Bar awards
The State Bar is seeking nominations for three
awards presented annually to California attorneys who have provided
substantial free legal assistance to the state's low income
residents. In addition, a new award honoring efforts toward promoting
diversity in the legal profession has been established.
Nominations are being accepted for the following
n President's Pro Bono Service Awards:
Recognizes outstanding pro bono legal service contributions made by an
individual attorney or a team of attorneys from each of the nine bar
The award is presented in these categories:
corporate (employed by a corporation), government (employed by a
local, state or federal agency), retired and recently admitted (first
four years of practice). In addition, small (2-10), medium (11-99) and
large (100+) law firms will be honored for their contributions. A
branch of a law firm is also eligible for nomination.
Loren Miller Legal Services Award: Honors an attorney who has
demonstrated long-term commitment to legal services and who has
personally done significant work in extending legal services to the
Jack Berman Award of Achievement: Honors a young lawyer (first five
years of active State Bar membership or age 36 and under) who has
provided outstanding service to the legal profession and public, and
dedication to issues of concern to new and young lawyers.
Diversity Award: Honors outstanding efforts made by a bar association
and an individual attorney in promoting diversity in the legal
The deadline to submit applications is June 7.
Guidelines and nomination forms may be accessed on the bar's web
site, www.calbar.org, or by
contacting Kate O'Connor, 415/538-2141, Kate.OConnor@calsb.org;
or Rodney Low, 415/538-2219, Rodney.Low@calsb.org.
"A Week in Legal London"
scheduled for June 23-28
The State Bar's Litigation Section is
sponsoring "A Week in Legal London" from June 23-28. The London
program offers an opportunity to experience the inner workings of the
English legal system, expand litigation skills and engage in
thought-provoking discussion with members of the London legal
Participants will attend sessions at the Royal
Courts of Justice, the Old Bailey, the High Court of Justice and the
Courts of Appeal. MCLE credit will be offered.
For additional information contact the litigation
section at 415/538-2546.
Chief Justice appoints lawyer
Retired appellate Justice Elwood Lui was
appointed by Chief Justice Ronald George last month to once again
examine a State Bar-related issue - this time the focus is
California's lawyer discipline system.
Lui will head the 11-member Advisory Committee on
Lawyer Regulation, appointed to study recommendations by an ABA panel
that last year scrutinized the bar's discipline operations.
"The committee is charged with reviewing the
recommendations concerning structural issues contained in a report
provided by the American Bar Association's Standing Commit-tee on
Professional Discipline issued in June 2001, and making its own
recommendations to the court," George said.
Among other things, the ABA group recommended
that the Supreme Court take over the discipline system because of
uncertainties in bar funding. The bar must win authorization from the
legislature for its fee bill. Although it managed to win a two-year
authorization last year, in recent years it has had to go to
Sacramento every year to get a fee bill.
In 1998, George appointed Lui as a special master
to oversee a one-time assessment the Supreme Court ordered to keep the
discipline system afloat during the financial crisis which followed
Gov. Wilson's veto of the bar's fee bill.
Two legal services boards need
The State Bar of California is seeking
applications from attorneys interested in serving on the boards of
directors of two legal services programs, California Rural Legal
Assistance (CRLA) and California Indian Legal Services (CILS).
Both non-profit Legal Services Corporation-funded
organizations provide legal assistance to the rural poor.
Five two-year positions are open on the CRLA
board. Its 45-member board meets four times a year to make policy
decisions governing the program's operations.
One three-year position is open on the CILS
board. It also meets four times a year.
Deadline for receipt of applications for both
boards is May 31.
Interested attorneys should apply by letter,
listing the reasons they should be appointed. A resume outlining work
experience, community activity and educational background must be
The materials should be sent to Chris Zupanovich,
State Bar of California, 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105;
Questions may be directed to 415/538- 2534.
Rules revision project gets
The board of governors has reinstated the
14-member Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional
Conduct in an effort to evaluate existing California Rules of
Professional Conduct. Public hearings will be held in San Francisco
June 29 and at the State Bar's Annual Meeting in Monterey Oct.
MCLE compliance group 2 faces
Feb. 1 deadline
Members of MCLE compliance group 2 (last names
H-M) who are not part of an exempt group must complete 25 hours of
continuing legal education by the compliance deadline of Feb. 1, 2003.
Attorneys who comply after that date may be
subject to a $75 fine.
E-briefs offer bar updates
The State Bar offers timely updates on recent
news developments or announcements of interest to lawyers. If you wish
to be put on our mailing list, please provide your e-mail address to firstname.lastname@example.org.