Pending restructuring of State Bar will overshadow bar leaders' program

Bar leaders across the state intended to focus their mid-year gathering Feb. 20–22 on the legal needs of California’s children, but the spotlight will be shared this year with discussions about the impending restructuring of the State Bar. “The mid-year conference is especially important this year,” said Mark Schickman of San Francisco, who is co-chairing the Napa event with James Talley of Escondido. “This will be the first opportunity for bar leaders to meet face-to-face since the governor vetoed the fee bill,” said Schickman. A bill was introduced in Sacramento in January which will split the bar into mandatory and voluntary sections.

The past and future

One session during the weekend conference will deal solely with the past and future relationship of the State Bar and local bars.

Responding to State Bar President Marc Adelman’s inaugural speech calling for the state’s lawyers to provide pro bono legal services to children, organizers of the mid-year conference also have invited experts in the field to address the issue and provide ideas for bar leaders to take back to their organizations.

Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni, D-Novato, chair of the Assembly education committee, will talk about improving educational opportunities for children with special needs.

One session will update recent changes in the law which affect the rights of children and another will feature experts discussing the connection between children’s needs and problems facing California families, including domestic violence.

The chief justice’s report

On Sunday morning, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron George will lead the concluding session and introduce the concept of rural and urban bars working together to regionalize the delivery of legal services.

“The chief justice is forging a bench-bar coalition for the delivery of legal services in California,” said Schickman. “He has been a hero in expanding legal services delivery.”

Joining the chief justice will be Jack Londen, a member of the State Bar’s Access to Justice Commission and Judge Charles Kobayashi of the Sacramento Superior Court.

Other workshops available to bar leaders and the state’s attorneys deal with key issues facing large bar associations, strategies to increase membership in small bars, promoting diversity and ways bars can publicize their good works.

The conference will be held at the Silverado Country Club and Schickman said arrangements have been made for participants to share accommodations and transportation. For more information, call 415/561-8355.