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Judges, courts and programs honored

The California Judicial Council honored five winners of its 2002 Distinguished Service Awards and 10 courts for innovative programs. The service awards, now in their 10th year, are the highest honors given by the council to those who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and make significant contributions to the administration of justice in California.

This year's winners, who will be recognized this month, are:

  • Jurist of the Year: Los Angeles Superior Court Presiding Judge James Allen Bascue and Judge Lois Haight, supervising judge of the Contra Costa County juvenile court.

  • Judicial Administration Award: Tamara Lynn Beard, Executive Officer of the Superior Court of Fresno County, and Ray LeBov, director of the Office of Governmental Affairs of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).

  • Bernard E. Witkin Award: University of San Francisco law professor Jay Folberg.

  • Ten California courts also will receive the 2002 Ralph N. Kleps Awards for Improvement in Administration of the Courts, an annual awards program recognizing innovation in the state's courts. The honored programs were judged on four criteria - innovation, operation for at least one year, ability to be transferred to other courts and demonstration of improvement in the administration of the courts.

  • The winners fell into the following categories: Courts with two to six AJPs: Amador County and San Benito County superior courts.

  • Courts with seven to 19 AJPs: Nevada County and Yolo County superior courts.

  • Courts with 20-49 AJPs: San Joaquin County and Sonoma County superior courts.

  • Courts with 50-plus AJPs: Orange County, Riverside County and San Diego County superior courts.

  • Appellate courts: Court of Appeal, First Appellate District.

Audits of MCLE compliance

Members of MCLE compliance group 2 (last names H-M) may be audited for their compliance with the requirements. Under bar rules, the audits, which will be random, must occur within a year of submission of a compliance card.

Documentation of 12.5 participatory credits must be in the form of certificates of attendance, and proof of 12.5 hours of self-study credit may be in the form of a personal log. Those who are exempt must present a letter from an employer.

Compliance cards are submitted under penalty of perjury.

Members of compliance group 2 were to have completed 25 hours of continuing education and submitted a compliance card by Feb. 1. Those who did not meet the deadline have until March 17 to comply; after that time, a $75 penalty will be assessed.

Attorneys who do not complete the MCLE requirement face the possibility of being placed on inactive enrollment. About 1 percent of the state's attorneys do not fulfill their MCLE obligation.

Group 2 attorneys who have not complied and have lost their compliance card may download a new card from the bar's website, by clicking on the MCLE link in the right-hand menu. Questions about compliance may be sent to

Bar seeks applicants for two legal aid boards

The State Bar is seeking applicants for the boards of directors of the Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA). The deadline for receipt of applications for both boards is Feb. 15.

Two three-year positions are open on the 26-member Orange County board and one three-year position is available on the Los Angeles board, which has 48 members. Both boards meet at least four times a year.

Each organization is a non-profit Legal Services Corp.-funded program created to provide legal assistance to the poor.

Interested attorneys should apply by letter and include a resume of work experience, community activity and educational background.

Materials should be sent to Chris Zupanovich, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105; Questions may be directed to 415-538-2534.

Dues bills were due Feb. 1

Dues bills for all active and inactive California attorneys were due Feb. 1. Dues for active lawyers are $390, and dues for inactive members are $50.

Those who did not pay face a 10 percent penalty March 15, and an additional 15 percent penalty will be imposed May 15.

Information about the fee bill is available at 415-538-2360.

Five board of governors seats are up for election

Nominating petitions will be available Feb. 3 for five seats on the State Bar Board of Governors. Elections will be held in districts 1 (representing 19 northern California counties), 3 (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties), 5 (central California), 7 (Los Angel-es), and 9 (Imperial and San Diego counties).

Petitions must be filed with the State Bar by April 1. New board members will be sworn in at the Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Sept. 4-7.

The complete election schedule is online at the bar's Web site, (About the Bar>Board of Governors>Elections ).

Starting your own law firm

Thinking of opening a law office? The California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA) and Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB) have collaborated on the sixth edition of "Opening a Law Office: A Handbook for Starting Your Own Business."

The publication provides concise and useful guidance on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of legal business entities; selecting state of the art hardware, software and office equipment; office management, timekeeping and billing; effectively marketing your services; financing your practice; hiring good legal support staff; law office insurance; and trust accounts and client relations.

In addition, checklists for essential procedures and tasks, sample forms, sample budgets, appendices for building a law library and an extensive bibliography for further reference are provided.

The publication can be purchased for $35, plus $5.95 shipping and handling. Checks should be made payable to the State Bar of California and sent to the State Bar, California Young Lawyers Association, Attn: Leanna Dickstein, 1149 S. Hill St., Los Angeles, CA 90015-2299.

More information and order forms are available at the bar's Web site,, or by calling 213-765-1337.

Bias seminar set March 4

The State Bar Committee on Women in the Law, the Orange County Women Lawyers and California Women Lawyers are cosponsoring a seminar on the elimination of bias in the legal profession March 4.

The session, which carries one hour of MCLE credit, will be held at 300 Flower St. in Orange from noon to 1:20 p.m.

For more information, call 949-675-2075 or

New prices for consumer information pamphlets

New prices are in effect for the State Bar's easy-to-understand pamphlets about everyday legal problems often encountered by the public.

The first of each pamphlet is free to anyone who sends a self-addressed stamped envelope for each pamphlet desired. The pamphlets can also be ordered in bulk. Law firms and other for-profit service providers may order all titles for 50-cents each or $40 per 100 of any title. Legal services providers who serve low-income and indigent people may order up to 200 per title every six months for free. Other non-profit organizations may order pamphlets for 50-cents each, or $20 for 100 of a particular title, providing the bulk order is accompanied by a note on the organization's letterhead indicating that it is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.

A complete list of available publications is at the bar's Web site. Go to Public Information>Consumer Information>Pamphlets.

Essay contest open to law students

The State Bar Committee on Women in the Law invites California law students and recent graduates to participate in the 2003 essay scholarship contest. The topic question is: "Are there issues or considerations of special relevance to women law students that those who recruit and hire lawyers should be aware of?"

First prize is a cash award of $1,000 and publication of the essay in a legal publication. Second prize is $500 and third prize is $250.

The deadline for submission of essays is April 15.

For more information on guidelines and eligibility go to or contact Kate O'Connor at 415-538-2141. The Committee on Women in the Law thanks the law firm of Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps for their generous donation.

Calling all retired lawyers

Retired California lawyers are invited to join the State Bar's emeritus attorney pro bono program ,through which active attorney fees are waived in exchange for work for an approved legal services program.

Approved by the board of governors in 1987, the emeritus program is designed to take advantage of the skills, training and experience of retired lawyers.

Interested attorneys can obtain an application from Betty J. Barker at 415-538-2328 or Those currently enrolled in the program must renew their applications.

Comment sought on revised jury instructions

The Judicial Council Task Force on Jury Instructions has released a new set of civil instructions for public comment. The task force is interested in reactions to style, format, legal accuracy, clarity and usefulness of accompanying notes and commentary. The deadline for comments is April 16.

Comments may be submitted using an online form or by mail. The electronic comment form can be found at Specificity as to the sections that correspond to your remarks is encouraged.

Mailed comments should be sent to Judicial Council, Attn: Anita Nazir, 455 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102-3660.

The task force was appointed to draft criminal and civil jury instructions that accurately state the law in language that average jurors can more easily understand.

Criminal procedure under trial court unification

The California Law Revision Commission is seeking public comment on a tentative recommendation to make changes to the procedure for preliminary examination of a felony case.

The commission recommends that a magistrate's decision on a noticed motion to dismiss or a demurrer not be subject to review by another judge of the superior court. Peer review of a magistrate's decisions is inefficient and may create an appearance of impropriety.

The tentative recommendation is available from the California Law Revision Commission, 4000 Middle-field Road, Room D-1, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4739 or at the commission's website, The deadline for comments is March 31.

Nominations sought for five ABA awards

Three American Bar Association entities are seeking nominations for awards, one honoring an individual who has made a positive impact on the justice system, another recognizing projects that enhance professionalism, and three to honor public lawyers.

The ABA Justice Center will award the 2003 John Marshall Award to an individual responsible for extraordinary improvement to the administration of justice. Nominees may be non-lawyers.

The deadline for nominations is March 14. Nominations should be sent to the ABA Justice Center, John Marshall Award, 541 N. Fairbanks Court, Chicago, IL 60611; fax 312-988-5709. More information is available at or by calling 312-988-5700.

The ABA Standing Committee on Professionalism will present up to three awards of $3,500 each as part of its annual E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards, recognizing law schools, bar associations, law firms and non-profit organizations for projects that enhance professionalism among lawyers.

Entry forms and guidelines for nominations, which are due March 31, are available at cpr/gambrell.html. Additional information is available from Kathleen Maher at 312-988-5307 or

The Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division is seeking nominations for three awards: the Hodson Award for Public Service, the Nelson Award for Outstanding Service to the ABA and the Dorsey Award for an Outstanding Public Defender or Legal Aid Lawyer.

For more information, contact Theona Salmon at 202-662-1023 or or go to The deadline for nominations is April 4.

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