YOU NEED TO KNOW
|Need member info? Look on the net
The State Bar's membership records inquiry line
(415/561-8877), which provided assistance to more than 250,000 callers last year, is no
longer staffed by a live operator. Callers seeking information about California attorneys
now are directed to member records online (MRO) at http://www.calsb.org.
Those who require information or services, such as how to change a name or address or how
to receive a certificate of standing, may select options from a voice menu.
A reduced staff in the membership office is maintaining the database in as timely a
manner as possible; the Internet site is updated continuously.
The bars MRO service had more than 700,000 record reads last year. Information
now includes a statement that a member does or does not have a record of discipline.
If additional information is sought, instructions are provided for sending a written
request for a certificate of standing or requesting a copy of the filing from the State
Bar Court. There is a fee for these services.
The changes were made because of the bars near insolvency. Also shut down are the
discipline departments complaint intake line and the ethics hotline.
|Emergency ethics faxline available during crisis
The Los Angeles firm of Karp-man & Associates is
providing an emergency ethics faxline as a free service to the profession. The firm is
fielding short one-page questions of a hypothetical nature in an effort to help attorneys
avoid ethical pitfalls due to the closing of the State Bars ethics hotline.
It attempts to respond to inquiries within 24 hours.
The fax number is 310/887-3901.
Diane Karpman represents attorneys who face bar discipline. She practices with Joanne
Robbins, a former State Bar Court judge.
|Complaints about attorney misconduct in writing
Because the State Bars complaint hotline is shut
down, consumers wishing to complain about an attorney must now submit a written complaint.
People who are having a problem with an attorney may still call 1-800/843-9053 and will
hear a taped message providing various options.
|Loan approved to keep trial courts open
Because the legislature had not approved a budget, Gov.
Pete Wilson signed urgency legislation last month to provide a $90 million loan so
Californias trial courts can meet payroll expenses and continue operations.
The loan will get the courts through the first two months of the 1998-99 fiscal year.
Without the funding, courts in several counties would not have been able to meet their
mid-July payroll, forcing possible closure.
The money is an advance from the states general fund.
|Board members sought for rural legal assistance
Attorneys interested in serving on the board of
directors of California Rural Legal Assistance are invited to submit an application to the
One two-year term position is open. Deadline for the applications is Sept. 11.
CRLAs 45-member board meets four times a year.
Applicants must be members of the California bar, be knowledgeable about legal services
to the poor and support the purposes of the Legal Services Corporation Act.
Interested attorneys should submit a letter of application and a resume to Judy Garlow,
Office of Legal Services, State Bar of California, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco
94102-4498. Information is available by calling 415/561-8249.
|ALJ conference slated
The annual meeting and conference of the National
Associa-tion of Administrative Law Judges will be held in Portland, Ore., from Oct. 10-14.
With a theme of Tools for the 21st Century, the conference also is geared
to involve practitioners who represent clients before federal and state agencies.
For details about the conference, visit the Oregon associations website at
www.efn.org/~oaalj> or call Shirley Gunter at 503/370-6046.
|New rules on trial court administration
The Judicial Council has adopted a comprehensive series
of court rules that establish a decentralized system of trial court management in
The rules cover general principles of trial court management, personnel plans, budget
management and the role of the Judicial Council and the administrative office of the
courts in managing the judicial branch budget.
The rules will be published in the Supreme Courts California Official Reports.
|Assistance provided for court unification
Following passage of a constitutional amendment
permitting superior and municipal courts to merge in each California county, the
Administrative Office of the Courts is providing assistance to courts to enable them to
respond to the measure.
Senate Constitutional Amendment 4, which appeared on the June ballot as Proposition
220, permits judges within each county to create a single superior court if a majority of
both the countys superior and municipal judges so vote or if all the judges give
The measure passed with 64 percent of the vote.
The AOC set up a toll-free telephone hotline for the courts to provide them with
information about implementing Prop 220. It also has sent written materials about the
measure to judges and court administrators throughout the state.
By mid-July, judges in 34 counties formally reported that they voted to unify their
superior and municipal courts into a single superior court. Twelve more counties reported
their intention to vote on unification in the near future.
|Phone calls to State Bar
Because of the layoffs at the State Bar, many of the phone
numbers listed on page 17 will now be answered by a recording.