Five seats open on State Bar board

Five seats on the State Bar's Board of Governors are up for grabs this summer. They are in District 2 (Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Tuolumne 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 County, offices 1 and 2).

Nominating petitions will be available May 5 and must be filed by July 6.

Any active member of the bar who maintains his or her principal office for the practice of law within any of the districts listed above is eligible to run for a seat on the board.

Lawyer members are elected for three-year terms and will assume their offices at the conclusion of the 1998 annual meeting.

New board members will replace Samuel L. Jackson of Sacramento, Ann Ravel of San Jose, Raymond C. Marshall of San Francisco, and Leon Goldin and Jeffrey Tidus of Los Angeles. Their terms expire this year.

Information about running for the board and nominating petitions are available from Biljanna Sivanov at 415/561-8274.

Judicial Council has one opening for bar member

The State Bar is seeking lawyer applicants for one position on the California Judicial Council. The two-year term begins Sept. 15, 1998, and ends Sept. 14, 2000.

Applications are available from the bar's Appointments Office, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco 94102-4498; 415/561-8855; or fax 415/561-8875.

Deadline for receipt of applications is May 1.

The 21-member Judicial Council provides policy direction to the courts, the governor and the legislature concerning court practice, procedure and administration. Four State Bar members are appointed to staggered terms.

The time commitment for members is approximately 300 hours per year.

Disaster planning manual available from State Bar

In the wake of this winter's storm-related disasters, many local bar associations have created disaster assistance programs in which attorneys volunteer their expertise to help victims. A new guidebook published by the State Bar can help those efforts operate more smoothly.

The California Handbook for Disaster Legal Services is a comprehensive 300-page training manual designed to assist in the creation of disaster response plans.

Topics include disaster-related housing assistance programs, Small Business Administration loans, unemployment assistance, food stamps and other public assistance programs for disaster victims.

A wide range of experts and emergency services personnel contributed to the handbook, which was published with funds from the Foundation of the State Bar.

In recent years, when floods, earthquakes or other disasters have occurred in California, attorneys have generously volunteered their expertise to assist victims.

Bar associations, legal services and pro bono programs, and State Bar-certified lawyer referral services may each obtain one free copy of the manual (until the supply runs out). Others may purchase the handbook for $20; checks should be made payable to the State Bar of California and sent to Mary Holomon-Thomas, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco 94012.

Further information about the manual is available from Sharon Ngim, 1-800/628-4858 or 415/561-8267.

Trust Fund board seeks members for 3-year terms

Applications are being accepted for the Legal Services Trust Fund Commission, appointed by the board of governors to administer the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program. Terms of appointment are three years.

Individuals wishing to volunteer may complete the application form that appeared in the printed edition of the February California Bar Journal or request an application from the trust fund office at 415/561-8252.

Applications must be submitted by April 15.

Emeritus attorney program seeks volunteers

The State Bar's emeritus attorney pro bono participation program offers retired attorneys the opportunity to contribute their valuable legal skills to assist low-income Californians. The bar waives the active membership fees of emeritus attorneys who volunteer through qualified legal services programs.

Attorneys may vary their level of involvement and do not need to have expertise in poverty law. Emeritus attorneys receive training, access to MCLE programs and malpractice insurance coverage through their local programs.

To be eligible, an attorney must be a member in good standing with the State Bar, have practiced law or served as a judge in California at least three of the last eight years, and have been admitted to practice law at least 10 years.

Further information is available from Eve Hershcopf in the bar's office of legal services at 415/561-8213 or 1-800/628-4858.

Access to Justice group makes plans

California's new "Access to Justice" commission has three projects in the works: a series of community forums addressing barriers to access; roundtable discussions of pro per issues, initially focusing on family law; and a pro per survey to determine the needs of individuals who are forced to handle their own legal matters.

Commission head Laurie Zelon said the new group is made of attorneys, judges, and representatives of community, academic and business groups throughout the state.

Information about the commission is available from Mary Viviano at 415/561-8251.

Judicial Branch web site adds to its database

As a service to the bench, bar and public, the California Rules of Court and new Judicial Council forms are now posted on the Judicial Branch web site. The Rules of Court can be found at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules/ and the Judicial Council forms, which can be downloaded but not filled out online, are at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/forms/.

The Judicial Branch web site also features a variety of information about the California court system, including Judicial Council publications, the Supreme Court's calendars and procedures, and full texts of "slip opinions" of the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal that have been certified or ordered published.

Vogel receives L.A. bar's highest honor

Charles S. Vogel, Administrative Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District (Los Angeles), received the 1998 Shattuck-Price Memorial Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA).

The award is given annually to "an individual who has shown outstanding dedication to the high principles of the legal profession, the administration of justice, and the progress of the Los Angeles County Bar Association."

Vogel, who served as president of the State Bar in 1990-91 and also formerly served as president of LACBA, was appointed to the appellate bench in 1992.