Legal specialist exam scheduled in August

Attorneys who wish to become certified as a specialist in one of eight areas of practice may take the legal specialist examination this summer. Offered only once every two years, the exam will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in San Francisco and Los Angeles on Aug. 24. Prospective test takers must apply by July 11.

Attorneys may be certified by the bar as specialists in the following areas of law: appellate; criminal; estate planning, trust and probate; family; immigration and nationality; personal and small business bankruptcy; taxation; and workers' compensation. More than 3,000 attorneys in California currently are certified as specialists.

The registration fee for the exam is $200 or $250 for those who wish to type. To obtain a registration form, contact Lorna Maynard, 451/241-2100; fax 415/241-2180; or e-mail

Annual ethics meeting set May 3 in Los Angeles

The third annual Statewide Ethics Symposium will be held in Los Angeles May 3. Sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC), the meeting will focus on emerging issues in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility.

The symposium will be held at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton & Towers and offers six hours of MCLE ethics credit.

For further information, contact Lauren McCurdy, 415/241-2107.

Simplified tax-treatment options for businesses

The Board of Governors approved a legislative proposal of the bar's taxation section to permit California's small businesses to take advantage of a federal tax check-the-box option. The proposal, which goes back to the taxation section for further action, would permit small businesses to easily elect tax-treatment options.

ABA forms disability lawyer registry

The American Bar Association's Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law is initiating a voluntary campaign to assemble the names and addresses of lawyers who have a special interest in disability law by virtue of their legal practice or their own disabilities. The collected information will be used to form a disability lawyer registry and a directory of lawyers, firms, organizations and agencies that specialize in disability law.

This effort marks the first time any national organization has attempted to compile a comprehensive list of disability lawyers. The ABA requests that attorneys who practice disability law and/or who have disabilities provide their names, addresses, phone numbers and areas of concentration, as well as any other pertinent information, to the commission.

For more information, contact the commission at 740 15th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005-1009, 202/662-1570; fax, 202/662-1032; TTY, 202/662-1012;; attention Kristi Bleyer, CMPDL.

Bar counters challenge on Texas IOLTA program

The bar board extended its authorization to continue the bar's amicus participation in Washington Legal Foundation v. Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation, an ongoing challenge to an IOLTA program similar to California's attorney trust fund program. The California program uses interest generated from lawyer trust accounts to help defray the costs of legal services programs statewide.

The board voted to extend the bar's participation all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

'Assumption of practice' volunteers sought

The State Bar is seeking volunteer attorneys to assist in taking over the client files of lawyers whose practice is assumed by the court. Volunteers collect the files and contact the clients. 

Under the Business & Professions Code, the bar sometimes intervenes when an attorney dies, resigns or is disciplined, or when an attorney becomes incapable of practicing for other reasons. 

When the superior court assumes jurisdiction over an attorney's practice, the bar's chief trial counsel asks local bar associations for volunteers to return the files to clients.

The bar reimburses reasonable secretarial and paralegal costs and other costs incurred by the volunteer upon court approval. 

Attorneys who wish to volunteer for the program should contact Lila Erlandson at 415/561-8374.

New rules for judicial candidates, temp judges

In response to a request from the state Supreme Court, the State Bar Board of Governors approved two new proposed rules of professional conduct aimed at attorneys who run for judgeships and serve as judges pro tem.

The proposed rules are similar to a version provided by the high court and if approved, would subject attorney candidates and temporary judges to certain canons of the Code of Judicial Ethics.

The new rules would permit the bar to discipline members who violate the applicable canons and who are outside the jurisdiction of the Commission on Judicial Performance.

Bar launches assistance program for legislators

In an effort to help California legislative staffers obtain analysis of bills and their potential impact, the State Bar has created a technical assistance program. The informational effort will provide to members and staff of the legislature the expertise of bar section and standing committee members.

Experienced lawyers needed to act as mentors

The Solo and Small Firm Practice Section is seeking experienced attorneys to act as mentors for new and/or inexperienced lawyers in specific fields of law. The mentor is asked to provide a free, half hour consultation to the requesting attorney.

Interested lawyers should send a resume and areas of specialty to the Solo and Small Firm Practice Section at 555 Franklin St., San Francisco 94102; 415/561-8350.

A mentor directory will be published later this year.

Publication for litigators

The winter 1997 issue of California Litigation showcases articles, written by former editors and past litigation section chairs, that offer a current perspective on litigation practice in California. Articles address some of the most controversial and highly charged issues facing practitioners, including the impact of new technologies on the delivery of legal services, bias against women and minorities, tort reform and the decline in professionalism among lawyers.

To obtain a copy, call 415/561-8846.

1997 editions of bar publications available

The 1997 editions of Publication 250 and the Trust Accounting Handbook are available. Individuals wishing to order either publication should send a check or money order for $10, payable to the State Bar of California, to the Office of Professional Competence, Planning & Development, 100 Van Ness Ave., 28th Flr., San Francisco 94102-5238.

The cost for books sold on-site is only $5. Walk-in orders are taken at the bar's admissions office at 555 Franklin St. in San Francisco and the 4th floor reception at the Los Angeles office, 1149 South Hill St.

Further information is available from Renata Murry at 415/241-2112.

Board to meet in May in San Francisco

The bar Board of Governors will meet May 30-31 at its San Francisco headquarters at 555 Franklin St. Committees will meet Friday and the full board will meet Saturday at 9 a.m.

A copy of the agenda is available from the bar secretary, 415/561-8200.