California Bar Journal
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Brosterhaus ruling adverse to bar
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At press time, a Sacramento judge ruled that the State Bar could not charge mandatory fees for much of its lobbying and several of its programs funded with dues in 1991.

In a tentative decision released late last month, Superior Court Judge Morrison England ruled that only nine of 40 bills lobbied by the bar in 1991 could be charged to attorneys under the Keller v. State Bar decision of 1990.

Morrison said the bar could not charge members for any lobbying in Washington, D.C., or for several programs run by the bar's former office of bar relations, including any efforts to advance the careers of women or minority attorneys.

"We're disappointed in Judge England's interpretation of the Keller decision," said bar President Ray Marshall. "We spent an inordinate amount of resources looking at a State Bar that existed in 1989 and not 1999, especially since the key issues have been addressed and resolved with our fee bill and other internal reforms."

The case, Brosterhaus v. State Bar, was filed in 1992 by 40 attorneys who objected to the bar's first Hudson deduction - a refund system set up by the bar for attorneys who choose not to fund certain nonchargeable programs under Keller.

The objectors were sponsored by the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, the State Bar's most outspoken critic for more than a decade.

The ruling also said the bar could not use mandatory dues to fund the Conference of Delegates, but the bar already has put the conference on a voluntary funding basis only.