California Bar Journal
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5 openings to be filled on legal services board

Attorneys interested in serving on the board of directors of Legal Services of Northern California (LSNC) are invited to submit an application to the State Bar. Three three-year positions and two incomplete three-year term positions are open.

Applicants must be residents of Amador, Placer, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Sierra, Lassen, Modoc, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, Butte, Plumas, Glenn, Tehama, Colusa or Sacramento counties.

LSNC is a non-profit Legal Services Corp.-funded program created to provide free quality legal services in civil matters to low-income people in 18 counties. The 31-member board meets six times annually in Sacramento.

Applicants should submit a letter describing the reasons they should be appointed and indicating their county of residence, along with a resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 30 to Denise Teraoka, Office of Legal Services, State Bar of California, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco 94102; 415/561-8845.

Need membership 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

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 bar's 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 State Bar Court. There is a fee for these services.

The changes were made because of the bar's near insolvency. Also shut down are the discipline department's complaint intake line and the ethics hotline.

Because they are self-supporting, the bar's admissions and certification offices continue to operate and California Bar Journal continues to publish on its regular monthly basis.

Some ethics information still available online

Publication 250, a compilation of professional rules governing attorneys, is available online at the bar's web site:

It includes the Rules of Professional Conduct, the State Bar Act, related statutes regarding the duties of attorneys and related rules of court.

Although the California Compendium on Professional Responsibility, an ethics research guide, is not available online, formal opinions of the bar's Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) published since 1988 are available.

The cost of the Compendium is $157.33 per copy (includes shipping and handling), and annual updates cost $40. Limited numbers of the 1997 Publication 250 are available for $10 and the 1998 update is available for $4 by mail.

Checks made payable to the State Bar of California may be sent to: State Bar, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105.

The client trust account handbook, a guide to the regulations governing such trust accounts, also is available for $10.

A request and check should be sent to the State Bar, Attn: Handbook on Client Trust Accounting for California Lawyers, 555 Franklin St., San Francisco 94102.

VIP volunteers needed

Volunteers in Parole (VIP), a non-profit program in which attorneys serve as mentors for young parolees, is seeking volunteers. Through one-on-one matches similar to the Big Brother/Big Sister programs, VIP offers a parolee the friendship of a knowledgeable person who has experience in dealing effectively with the community.

Attorneys who volunteer serve as a combination role model, mentor, adviser and friend to parolees between the ages of 16 and 35. In a crisis, the parolee will have someone to turn to for help.

For more information, contact: Los Angeles, 213/250-9707; southern California, 619/220-5356; Central Valley, 209/444-2400, ext. 266; and northern California, 415/561-8217.

Document imaging service

Beginning Sept. 1, the U.S. District Court, Central District, began providing a document imaging service that allows attorneys to quickly receive service of civil and criminal judgments, orders and other documents by facsimile or e-mail instead of regular mail.

Enrollment information is available at 213/894-2085.

Filing complaints

Because the State Bar's consumer 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.