Legal services attorneys:
Learn how to open a practice . . .

Former legal services attorneys are invited to attend a one-day seminar on how to open a private practice. Panelists will offer advice on how to locate an office and hire a staff, accounting and trust account procedures, ethics and finances, insurance, marketing and "re-orientation." The seminar begins at 9:30 a.m. April 13 at Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco. Participants may earn 5.5 hours of MCLE credit.

The event is sponsored by the State Bar Legal Services Section Standing Committee on Legal Services to the Poor, the bar's Law Practice Management Section, and Golden Gate University School of Law. Further information is available from Hester Honda, 714/835-4540.

. . . and apply to serve on the Indian Legal Services board

The State Bar is seeking applicants from attorneys interested in serving on the board of trustees of California Indian Legal Services (CILS). One three-year position is open on the 13-member board, which meets four times a year.

CILS is a non-profit, Legal Services Corp.-funded program created to provide legal assistance to California Indians, primarily in rural areas.

Applicants must submit a resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background to Susan Mattox, Office of Legal Services, State Bar of California, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco 94102. Further information is available by calling 415/561-8243.

The application deadline is March 22.

Public agency bar dues refund procedure

The Board of Governors made permanent interim rules to minimize the threat of lawsuits against public agencies that pay their employees' bar fees. Under the new rule, public agencies may receive a refund if, as a result of arbitration proceedings to determine the mandatory and voluntary portions of the annual membership fee, there is a finding that the bar underestimated the voluntary portion.

The board had approved an interim rule in December in response to concerns that public agencies would be vulnerable to lawsuits on the ground that their payment of the voluntary portion of dues was an improper use of public funds.

A 40-day public comment period did not result in any change to the interim rule.

Bar board to meet
in Los Angeles in April

The State Bar Board of Governors will hold its next meeting April 19-20 at the bar offices in Los Angeles. Committees will meet April 19 and the full board will meet at 9 a.m. April 20. An agenda is available from the bar's secretary at 415/561-8200.

Getting things done in
the L.A. Municipal Court

On March 30, the judges and commissioners of the Los Angeles Municipal Court will present a nuts-and-bolts session about practicing law in the largest municipal court in the country.

Topics for the session which will begin at 8:30 a.m. will include law and motion, discovery, ex-parte proceedings, default processing, unlawful detainers, civil trials, preliminary hearings, arraignments and criminal trials, DUI trials, settlement conferences and operation of the clerk's office.

The seminar will be held in Division 1 of the County Courthouse at 110 North Grand Ave. The fee is $30 if participants pre-register or $40 at the door.

Application is pending for approval of the seminar for three hours of MCLE credit.

Further information and registration forms are available from the court's public affairs office at 213/974-6358.

Client relations tips available on voice mail

Videotapes and brochures about attorney-client relationships are available from the State Bar's Office of Client Relations.

By calling the office's voice mail (213/765-1448), members can hear descriptions of the program's materials and request order forms.

The telephone number is one of 30 specialized applications the bar has installed since early 1995 in its San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento offices.

Bar-sponsored MCLE listings available by fax

A complete listing of State Bar-sponsored MCLE courses is now as near as your fax machine. By calling 415/561-8883, you may receive a list which is updated the first of each month. In addition, you can receive information on how to join a State Bar section.

Questions about the service may be directed to the Department of Meeting Services at 415/561-8210.

Rule implemented to accommodate disabilities

On Jan. 1, the Judicial Council implemented California Rule of Court 989.3 enabling lawyers, clients and other court users with disabilities to request accommodations.

An estimated 8,000 attorneys in California have some type of disability. Of the 4.7 million other disabled individuals in the state, some may be assumed to be involved with the courts in some way - as witnesses, parties, jurors, etc.

Under the new rule, any person with a disability who has business with a court may request accommodations directly to a judicial officer in confidence. The rule is consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which requires public entities to make reasonable modifications to provide access to people with disabilities.

The rule was developed by a State Bar committee which is developing policies to improve employment opportunities for legal professionals with disabilities.

Five seats open on bar Board of Governors

Nominating petitions for five open seats on the State Bar's Board of Governors will be available May 17. The openings are in the following bar districts:

Any active member of the State Bar who maintains his or her principal office within any of those districts is eligible to run for a seat on the 23-member board. Lawyer members are elected for three-year terms and will assume office at the 1996 Annual Meeting in mid-October.

Nominating petitions must be filed by June 14. Ballots will be mailed Aug. 2.

Further information is available from Biljanna Sivanov at 415/561-8274.

Copies of Constitution available in Spanish

A Spanish-language translation of the U.S. Constitution is available free from the National Center for State Courts until April 15. The translations were part of a project ordered by the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger.

Information is available from Paul Gomez of the Hispanic National Bar Association, 1-800/466-3063 or

Watch for the plebiscite ballot in early May

Ballots on the plebiscite of the State Bar's future are expected to be mailed to all active members of the bar in early May.

The accounting firm of Price Waterhouse LLP will print, mail and count the ballots. The results of the election must be reported to the legislature, Supreme Court and governor by July 1.

The plebiscite is required under SB 60 (Kopp, I-San Francisco) and asks whether the bar should continue to exist as a mandatory organization.

The exact question members are asked to vote on is: "Shall the State Bar be abolished as the agency regulating lawyers in this state on behalf of the legislature and the Supreme Court, with its regulatory function turned over to another body or bodies and some or all of its other activities handled by a voluntary association or associations?"

Arguments for and against the mandatory bar will be included with the ballots.