OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA JULY 1998
|Bar operations pared to barest essentials||
DIVIDED SUPREME COURT RULES TRUST FIND INTEREST PROPERTY OF CLIENTS
By KATHLEEN O. BEITIKS
Interest on client trust funds held in IOLTA accounts are the private property of clients, not the government or lawyers, said the U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling last month.
The court, however, declined to rule on the constitutionality of the taking of such funds and remanded the case to a lower court. The ruling stemmed from a Texas case, Phillips v. Washington Legal Foundation, which has been closely followed by the nations legal services programs.
At risk in California is $10 million in funds used for 110 nonprofit organizations throughout the state. IOLTA (Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts) funds are the second largest source of
|Services shut down as staff cut by 400+
The State Bar shut down most of its operations last month as lawmakers remained at an impasse over bar reform and the California Supreme Court declined to order the states lawyers to pay dues.
A last-minute flurry of negotiations in Sacramento to break the months-long deadlock looked hopeful at the end of June, but no resolution was reached in time to avert the layoffs of more than 400 bar employees June 26.
Another 20 were scheduled to lose their jobs July 10.
Most bar functions were reduced to bare bones, and others were eliminated entirely.
This is politics. It has nothing to do with the administration of justice, said bar President Marc Adelman, clearly frustrated after eight months of trying to reach an accord with the bars foes. He called June 26 one of the saddest and most
See BAR PARED
|200 remain to navigate 'The Ark'
As the State Bar last month launched what organization executives called The Ark, the Ethics Hotline shut down, news reporters seeking details about disciplined attorneys found little information, and clients disputing their lawyers bill were referred to a local bar association for help.
All staffers in the offices of legal services, bar relations, appointments, the Conference of Delegates and the California Young Lawyers Association were laid off. The Sacramento office was to close.
With the exception of several financially self-supported departments, such as the Committee of Bar Examiners and the Client Security Fund, which remain at full force, nearly every other program was reduced to bare bones.
The Board of Governors agreed to support any volunteer committee or commission which can limp along without staff support or funds; many remain in existence but are examining how to operate without a staff.
Some activities, such as the election of a new board of governors and consolidating all northern California employees in a single building, are in limbo.
Although a portrait of how the bar staff looks after the June 26 layoffs remains subject to change, The Ark proposed a total of 200.6 full-time equivalent positions (see chart above), down from almost 765 jobs in January. A few more than 600 employees were on the job the day
See 'THE ARK'
Because of the June 26 layoffs, some of the phone numbers listed on page 17 will now be answered by a recording.
The self-funding California Bar Journal will continue to publish on its regular monthly basis.
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