by Kathleen O. Beitiks
With 70 miles of a scenic coastline and a burgeoning population, San Diego has emerged from its sleepy beginnings as a mission town in the 1700s to the nation's sixth largest city, with more than 2.5 million residents.
California's lawyers will have a chance to explore the border city when they gather for the State Bar's Annual Meeting Sept. 11-14.
More than 4,000 lawyers and legal professionals are expected to attend MCLE classes, luncheons and dinners, as well as take advantage of San Diego's reputation as a water play-land and southern California cultural hub.
During the four-day meeting, more than 140 programs will be offered, with 130 available for MCLE credit. Every attorney attending will have the opportunity to rack up at least 20 hours of MCLE credit during the long weekend.
Meetings and educational programs will be held at the Hyatt Regency, the San Diego Convention Center and the Marriott Hotel and Marina. Exhibits and registration will be at the convention center.
At the top of the list of special events planned during the gathering is a luncheon on Thursday featuring Linda Wertheimer, host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."
Wertheimer has been reporting on breaking national issues since her days covering the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.
Susan G. Barnes, a renowned champion of women in the military, will be the guest speaker at the annual dinner of the California Women Lawyers. Barnes is a lawyer and former district judge who founded Women Active in Our Nation's Defense, their Advocates and Supporters (WANDAS).
The solo and small firm section of the bar will host a Friday morning breakfast with a program focusing on how the solo practitioner can take advantage of teamwork when working on cases.
Nevada's first woman attorney general, Frankie Sue Del Papa will share her unique perspective as the state's top lawyer at a Friday luncheon co-sponsored by the business law section.
Friday's workday will wrap up with a sunset reception hosted by the California Judges Association, with entertainment provided by the Highwaymen, of "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore" fame.
After a few days of sitting in meetings, a chance to get the old ticker pumping and refresh "the little gray cells" will be offered early Saturday morning with a 5K Power Walk along the scenic boardwalk.
Participants can refuel at a technology breakfast following the power walk and learn about latest developments in areas such as digital cameras, scanners, notebook computers and OCR software.
The annual Morrison Address luncheon will feature a renowned attorney. Past speakers have included legal luminaries such as Gerald Gunther, Abner Mikva, Kenneth W. Starr and Michael E. Tigar.
Sailing experience isn't necessary to join in for a Saturday afternoon of regatta racing on the San Diego Bay. Participants will be divided into teams of six sailors per boat, skippered by a licensed captain.
Later on, the laughter and dancing will last until midnight with the band "Haute Chile" and a satirical musical review by "Frivolous Motions."
Sunday's highlight is a luncheon featuring Stephen Carter, a professor of law at Yale University and author of a new book, "Integrity," which explores why Americans care more about winning than playing by the rules.
Conference of Delegates
During the Annual Meeting, more than 500 members of the Conference of Delegates will meet to work on 161 proposed resolutions dealing with a variety of issues such as the implementation of the medical marijuana initiative (Proposition 215), repealing the death penalty, repealing the chemical castration law, eliminating voters' ability to amend the state constitution through the initiative process, clarification of libel and slander laws in the electronic media and the statewide unification of court rules.
Also on the weekend's agenda is the presentation of the Loren Miller Legal Services Award, as well as individual district pro bono awards.
Law firms from northern and southern California will be recognized for their pro bono activities, as well as outstanding retired attorneys who have volunteered their services to the public.
The State Bar also will honor a "legislator of the year" at the annual meeting.
Among the MCLE classes offered will be a Thursday session on civil trial basics for lawyers in practice five years or less and "How to Handle Your Client Trust Accounts Properly."
Some of Friday's workshops are "Avoiding Trouble with the State Bar," "Recent Developments in the Law of Litigation," "An Introduction to Japanese Law," "Ten Ways to Lose Your Appeal at a Trial," and "50 Sites in 60 Minutes," a tour of the most useful legal Internet sites.
On Saturday, some of the MCLE offerings include "Current Solutions to Avoid Legal Malpractice," "Bankruptcy Litigation Fundamentals," and "Elder Law 911."
"The Portable Lawyer," "Storytelling and the Law," "Preparing and Examining Expert Witnesses," and "Parenthood California Style," are among Sunday's continuing education classes.
Participants who register before Aug. 14 can take advantage of fees ranging from $60 to $225, depending on length of membership in the State Bar.
Registration after Aug. 14 will be $300. The registration fee includes admission to all educational programs. Fees for individual MCLE programs are not available.