California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - April 1999
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Legal specialist exam set Aug. 19
Sullivan to take reins at Stanford Law School
Only two appointed members remaining on State Bar board
Legal services board has five vacancies
Davis taps Michael Kahn
State Bar honors Justice Mosk with Witkin Medal
Board tentatively approves budget based on dues of $384
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If it distracts, so be it
Let's cut back on jury service
Limit bar to admissions and discipline
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From the President - Door to justice must be open
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Letters to the Editor
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Law Practice - Preparing for a successful mediation
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Appointments - Apply to serve on a bar committee
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Legal Tech - DSL speeds up Internet - at a reasonable price
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New Products & Services
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MCLE Self-Study
Taxes and long-term care
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Trials Digest
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Ethics Byte - Fiduciary duties basis for all rules
Attorney nabbed at State Bar offices for soliciting murders
Attorney Discipline
Ethics for the 21st Century - A canon for the future
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Public Comment


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Apply to serve on a bar committee
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Each year the State Bar of California offers attorneys in California an opportunity to contribute to the legal profession and the public by volunteering to serve on one of the State Bar's committees. State Bar committees presently consist of 15 standing committees, 18 section executive committees and 11 special committees, boards and commissions. Be-cause of the bar's funding crisis, the appointments process is being handled this year on a voluntary basis. Currently, applications are being accepted for only eight committees.

Appointment considerations

The State Bar's board of governors strives to make appointments that will achieve diversity and broad representation of the California legal community.

The participation of all State Bar members is encouraged by the board. From time to time, the board may appoint representatives of other professions and members of the public to select committees.

The State Bar does not discriminate against persons on the basis of sex, race, color, ancestry, religious creed, national origin, physical disability (including HIV and AIDS) or mental disability, medical condition (cancer), age (over 40), marital status, denial of family care leave, political affiliation, sexual orientation, disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran status.


Applicants may apply to a maximum of three committees but can be appointed to only one of the eight committees currently being filled. Applicants for appointment to a section executive committee must be members of that section. In no case shall the board of governors appoint a person who is subject to disciplinary probation.

Factors which could militate against appointment, but are to be weighed among other factors, are: 1) if a lawyer appointment, whether there is any public information known to the State Bar about the applicant or a record of public discipline imposed; 2) whether any other member of applicant's firm is on the entity; and 3) whether the applicant previously served on the entity.

Term, time commitment, and committee service

Members are appointed to serve three-year terms, with the exception of the Committee of Bar Examiners and the CEB Governing Committee, whose members serve four-year terms. On occasion, the board may appoint a member to fill an unexpired vacancy (i.e., the appointee serves only the remaining portion of the term of the member who resigned).

The State Bar's committee year runs from annual meeting to annual meeting. The 1999-2000 committee year starts at the close of the 1999 annual meeting (Oct. 3, 1999), and ends at the close of the 2000 annual meeting (Oct. 8, 2000). Terms for the 1999-2000 appointments commence at the close of the 1999 meeting, i.e, Oct. 3, 1999.

Committees differ in the number of meetings scheduled in a year, but a typical meeting requires two to four hours' preparation and lasts four to six hours.

The meeting locations generally alternate between San Francisco and Los Angeles. An additional time commitment may be required for committee tasks and projects.

Committee members take an oath of office and receive no compensation for services. Committee members may be reimbursed for approved travel expenses, in accordance with the State Bar's travel policy and the committee's approved budget.

Application review and board appointment

Committees review the appointment applications in the spring and forward their recommendations to the board of governors.

The board of governors will make the appointments at a meeting later this year prior to the close of the annual meeting. The ultimate authority to make appointments rests with the board.


Applicants are notified of the board's appointments not later than the last day of the State Bar annual meeting (Oct. 3, 1999). Those appointed are notified as early as possible to allow their participation at the annual meeting.

Applications of those not selected are kept on file to consider for any vacancies that may arise later in the committee year.


A description of the eight committees currently being filled and the number of vacancies on each follows:

Committee on Appellate Courts

Five vacancies, five meetings per year.

Reviews proposed changes to the rules of court affecting appellate courts and comments to the board of governors and directly to the Judicial Council. Reviews comments on proposed legislation affecting appellate court operation and appellate practice; also initiates legislative and rules proposals in these areas. The committee consists of 16 attorneys who are currently drawn from such diverse sources as appellate court research staff, defense and prosecution offices handling criminal appeals, law firms and solo practitioners.

Chair: Susan A. Streble, San Bernardino

Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration

Five vacancies, nine-plus regular meetings and special projects.

Provides policy oversight for State Bar's fee arbitration program; assists local bar associations that operate arbitration and mediation programs to resolve attorney-client fee disputes; evaluates and makes recommendations for changes in the law concerning fee arbitration and related issues; educates the public and attorneys about avoiding and dealing with fee disputes; and provides educational seminars and practical training for attorneys, fee arbitration program administrators and fee arbitrators from local bars. Lawyers and public members with experience in fee arbitration, including arbitrators, chairs, vice chairs and administrators from local bar fee arbitration programs are encouraged to apply.

Chair: John S. Chang, Pasadena

Committee on Women in the Law

Five vacancies, six meetings per year.

Studies and addresses issues of concern to women attorneys as they relate to the administration of justice. The mission of the committee is to provide educational opportunities to improve the practice of law by women attorneys and to increase opportunities for participation in State Bar programs and activities. It involves analysis of concerns within the work sphere — hiring practices; assignment of work; client, mentor, peer and staff interaction including the elimination of bias; collegiality; tenure or partnership; monetary and other benefits return; and family issues. The mission also entails monitoring of discriminatory clubs, integration into local bar associations and other community activities, mandatory pro bono, legal services and legal education to and from women. Men and women who are interested in working on these issues are encouraged to apply.

Chair: Robin M. Pearson, San Ramon

Committee on Federal Courts

Four vacancies, four meetings per year.

Studies, recommends and reports on proposed changes in statutes and rules relating to practice before the federal courts. Works to enhance relations between the State Bar and the federal courts in California. The committee seeks attorneys who are knowledgeable in federal practice.

Chair: Denis Landin, Los Angeles

Committee on Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Four vacancies, six meetings per year.

Examines and reports to the State Bar on the prevalence of bias against lesbian, gay or bisexual litigants, lawyers and judges in the legal system, and on the concerns of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the legal profession. This committee also inquires into the status and participation of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in State Bar activities and the legal profession and makes specific recommendations for ensuring full integration. The committee creates materials and resources related to lesbians, gay men and bisexuals within the legal system and produces substantive programs for regional and statewide conferences. Lawyers and public members of any sexual orientation are encouraged to apply.

Chair: Akilah Monifa, Oakland

Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) Joint Advisory Committee

10 vacancies, one annual meeting plus two to three subcommittee meetings.

Provides advice and recommendations to CEB staff on program topics, speakers, locations, materials, book topics and formats, and other publications and media. The advisory committee consists of 25 members who are expected to attend the meetings of their assigned subcommittees as well as the annual joint meeting with the governing committee. The subcommittees are: business law; criminal law; family law; labor and employment; probate/estate planning; real property; taxation; and trial practice.

Chair: Marc M. Stern, Los Angeles

Committee on Ethnic Minority Relations

Three vacancies, seven meetings per year.

Serves as a liaison between the State Bar and minority attorneys; identifies and encourages minority attorneys to become active participants in the State Bar; studies and reports on the status of minorities in State Bar activities and the legal profession; acts as a resource center for information and materials related to issues affecting minorities; and produces ongoing programs and materials designed to maximize opportunities for minorities in the profession, including sponsorship of the annual Statewide Minority Attorneys' Conference. The overall goal of the committee is the full and complete integration of the State Bar. Lawyers and members of the public are encouraged to apply.

Chair: Michael P. Johnson, Oakland

Committee on Legal Professionals with Disabilities

Five vacancies, six meetings per year.

Explores, reports, addresses and recommends to the board of governors policies and programs to promote entry into and full participation in the legal profession and legal system for legal professionals with disabilities and chronic medical conditions. This committee also examines the status and participation of legal professionals with disabilities in State Bar activities and makes specific recommendations for increasing that participation. Lawyers and public members, with or without a disability or chronic medical condition, who are interested in working on these issues, are encouraged to apply.

Chair: George G. Katz, Ph.D., Pacific Palisades