Bar's toll-free consumer hotline shuts down

The State Bar's consumer hotline has shut down because of the State Bar's financial crisis and the impending layoffs of 500 employees. People who are having a problem with an attorney may still call 1-800/843-9053 and will hear a taped message providing information on how to submit a complaint.

Written complaints may be filed against attorneys. However, the complaints will not be acted upon until, or if, the State Bar's funding crisis is resolved.

Five seats open on bar's board of governors

Five seats on the State Bar's Board of Governors are up for grabs this summer.

They are in District 2 (Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Napa, 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 are available and can be filed between June 19 and July 6. Ballots will be mailed July 24; the last day to vote is Aug. 25.

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.

Legal services grants available for 1999

The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is offering competitive grant funds to provide civil legal services to eligible clients during calendar year 1999. In accordance with LSC's multi-year funding policy, the solicitation of proposals will be only for specified service areas. The amount of funds and the date and terms of their availability are not yet known.

Request for Proposals (RFP) may be obtained by calling LSC at 202/336-8900.

The Notice of Intent to Compete is due July 1 and grant proposals must be received at LSC by July 22.

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.

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.

Judicial Council actions

The Judicial Council of California has taken a variety of actions in recent months affecting issues as diverse as making telephonic court appearances and trial court coordination in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Among the changes:

The text of rules and standards changes is available on the judicial branch web site at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/rules/.

Access to Justice group plans forums, survey

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. Information is available at 415/561-8251.