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
Courts serve up mixed rulings on State Bar
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Only days after a superior court judge ruled that State Bar dues were improperly spent on political activities eight years ago, a federal appellate court upheld the bar's right to compel membership of all practicing California attorneys.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a suit by Sen. Bill Morrow, R-Oceanside, and two other lawmakers in which they contended forced membership in the bar violated their First Amendment right of freedom of association.

The three said the bar endorsed four bills in 1997 that they opposed, including an increase in the damage limit for medical malpractice and a gay rights bill. Because they are required to belong to the State Bar in order to practice law in California, they said they were associated in the public eye with views they found objectionable.

U.S. District Judge Garland Burrell dismissed their suit in Sacramento, noting that lawyers have the right to a refund of bar dues spent on political activities. Burrell said the public is unlikely to attribute the bar's positions to each of its members.

In an unrelated case, the bar's board of governors was considering whether to appeal a Sacramento judge's ruling that it improperly spent member dues on political and ideological activities in 1991.

It also was awaiting a second phase of trial in Brosterhous v. State Bar to determine the amount of refund plaintiffs will receive. The refunds will be granted only to the 40 plaintiffs.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Morrison England ruled in August that mandatory bar dues may be spent only on activities related to the licensing and discipline of lawyers and on administrative costs.

Other activities, such as lobbying the legislature or sponsoring outreach and social programs such as mentoring troubled youth, must be paid for by voluntary dues, the judge ruled.

State Bar President Raymond C. Marshall said the suit examined the bar's activities in 1991, not 1999, and that virtually everything ordered in the suit has been addressed.

The bar's dues bill signed by Gov. Davis last month restricts lobbying and prohibits the use of mandatory dues for activities such as the Conference of Delegates and the educational sections.