California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 1999
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


REGULARS

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Front Page - October 1999
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News
Johnson confirmed for second term as bar's top prosecutor
Courts serve up mixed rulings on State Bar
Ethics association elects Karpman president
Six new governors join bar board
New group targets health care fraud
Public law section creates online library of public law links
JoAnne Spears honored
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Trials Digest
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Opinion
Slaying an imaginary dragon
The perfect ending: Results
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From the President - This bar year ends on a high note
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Letters to the Editor
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Public Comment
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Legal Tech - Tips for network administrators
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New Products & Services
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1999 Honors
State Bar cites pro bono service
Young lawyers salute San Diego sole practitioner for outstanding service
State Bar hails 'lawyer's lawyer'
Aided by attorney, parolee cited, hired
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MCLE Self-Study
The Rigors of Fee Agreements
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Discipline
Ethics Byte - Before you sue for fees, think again
Woman who impersonated husband ordered reinstated
Attorney Discipline
MCLE compliance
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Continued from Page 1
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procrastinators is a 61-hour deficit.

"In terms of good member relations, extending the time (to comply) is right philosophically," said former board president Raymond C. Marsh-all.

In the wake of new legislation and a Supreme Court decision upholding the bar's minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) program, the board decided lawyers must complete the 36 hours required under the old program and old deadlines, plus 25 more hours required by the fee bill signed by Gov. Davis in September.

Although it had advised attorneys to continue to fulfill MCLE requirements when the program was ruled unconstitutional in 1997, the board also suspended enforcement of the program pending an appeal to the Supreme Court.

About 50,000 lawyers took advantage of the program's limbo. Some 19,000 members of group 1 (last names A-G) did not meet their Jan. 31, 1998, deadline, and 30,000 members of group 3 (last names N-Z) missed the Jan. 31, 1999, deadline. More than 1,000 members of group 2 (last names H-M) who missed the 1997 deadline, which was before the Warden v. State Bar decision was handed down, still have not complied.

The Supreme Court upheld the program this past August. Days later, Gov. Davis signed the fee bill, which reduces the number of required hours from 36 to 25 over a three-year period and eliminates the exemption for retired judges.

Under the legislation, the bar must propose an amendment to the MCLE rule and request the Supreme Court to adopt the change. Such a proposal likely will go to the court early next spring.

The new requirements are based on an assumption the court will approve the changes required by the legislation.

Under the policy, members of compliance groups 1 and 2 who should have but did not complete 36 hours by Jan. 31, 1998, and Jan. 31, 1997, respectively, now have until Jan. 31, 2001, to do both the 36 hours plus 25 more, for a total of 61 hours.

Members of those groups who did comply by the 1997 and 1998 deadlines must complete 25 hours by Jan. 31, 2001.

Lawyers in group 3 who did not finish 36 hours by Jan. 31, 1999, must complete 61 hours by Jan. 31, 2002. Those who are in compliance must do 25 hours by that date.

Subsequent compliance deadlines for 25 hours are: Group 1, Jan. 31, 2004; Group 2, Jan. 31, 2003; and Group 3, Jan. 31, 2005.

In a related action, the board rejected a staff recommendation to refund a $75 penalty assessed against members of group 2 who had not met the 1997 compliance deadline. Instead, the 175 lawyers in group 2 who did not pay the penalty will be rebilled.