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Legislators sponsor State Bar fee bill

Nine members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee are joint authors of the State Bar's fee bill for 2004, AB 1708. The bill was introduced in late February and, as introduced, would extend the bar's funding authorization for one year at the current $390.

Committee chair Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, is the lead author.The legislature authorizes the State Bar to collect dues from its members and sets a cap for the fees. The board of governors determines the fee level up to that cap. For the past two years, the bar has been authorized to collect a $310 annual membership fee from each active attorney, in addition to $35 for the Client Security Fund, $25 for discipline, $10 for the Lawyers Assistance Program for drug- and alcohol-addicted lawyers and $10 for the building fund. Together, the total authorized fees equal $390. The board has set the fee at $390 for the past two years.

The board is expected to determine the fee for 2004 this fall.

Five seats open on State Bar and CYLA boards

Ballots for the State Bar Board of Governors election will be mailed April 30 to attorneys whose principal practice is located in one of the five districts with open seats. The California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA)also has five seats open in the same districts.

Open seats on both boards are in:

  • District 1 - Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties;


  • District 3 - Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties;


  • District 5 - Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties;


  • District 7 - Los Angeles; and


  • District 9 - Imperial and San Diego counties.

The bar board has 23 members and the CYLA board has 17. The term of office for both boards is three years.

Voting continues through June 30 and the winners will take their seats at the bar's Annual Meeting, to be held Sept. 4 -7 in Anaheim.

Information about the elections is available on the bar's Web site www.calbar.ca.gov or by contacting Biljanna Sivanov at 415-538-2274.

Free MCLE seminars set on avoiding malpractice

The State Bar's Committee on Professional Liability Insurance will offer two free MCLE seminars this month on ways to avoid malpractice claims.

"Risk Management Audits for Solo and Small Practitioners" will be conducted by Anthony Davis, a nationally known speaker on risk management. The six-hour course will be held at the Hyatt Regency Los Angeles on April 28 and at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina on April 29.

Pre-registration is required to guarantee seating. Check-in is at 11:30 a.m., and the course lasts from noon until 6:30 p.m.

Those wishing to attend the seminars should register in advance at www.kvi-calbar.com or call 415-538-2201 for more information.

Participants will receive six hours of MCLE credit in ethics.

Legal specialist exam scheduled for summer

The State Bar will administer the examination for legal specialists in eight areas of practice on Aug. 17 in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Attorneys may be certified as specialists in appellate; bankruptcy; criminal; estate planning, trust and probate; family; immigration and nationality; taxation; and workers' compensation law.

The deadline to apply for the exam is July 3, and the registration fee is $200, or $250 for applicants wishing to use a laptop, word processor or typewriter.

Complete information is available at www.californiaspecialist.org, by calling 415-538-2120, or by e-mailing legalspecialist@calbar.ca.gov.

JNE applicants sought

Active members of the State Bar, former members of the judiciary and members of the public are invited to apply for a position on the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE).

The JNE Commission evaluates all candidates who are under consideration for a judicial appointment by the governor. It is composed of attorneys and public members who represent a broad cross-section of California's diverse legal profession and general population.

Appointed by the bar's board of governors, the volunteer commission cannot nominate or appoint judges; it does, however, thoroughly investigate candidates for judicial appointment while maintaining strict confidentiality. Commissioners serve terms of approximately one year and may serve up to three consecutive terms.

The terms of the 2004-05 JNE Commission begin Feb. 1, 2004. The application form and information about the commission, member qualifications and time commitment are available at www.calbar.ca.gov (select links to Attorney Resources/ Committees and Commissions/ Other Entity Appointments) or from the Appointments Office, State Bar of California, 180 Howard, San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, 415-538-2299.

The application deadline is June 2.

Legal services board seeks applicants

Solano County attorneys are invited to apply for a position on the Legal Services of Northern California board of directors. The deadline for applications is April 25, and the term will run from the date of appointment to April 19, 2004. The board member will be eligible to serve two additional three-year terms.

LSNC is a non-profit Legal Services Corp.-funded program that provides legal assistance to low income residents of 23 northern California counties. The 36-member board meets five times a year.

Interested attorneys should apply by letter and provide a resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background. The attorney's bar number should be included. Application materials should be sent to Chris Zupanovich, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA. Questions may be directed to chris.zupanovich@calbar.ca.gov or 415-538-2534.

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 betty.barker@calbar. ca.gov. Those currently enrolled in the program must renew their applications.

Nonsubstantive reform of civil discovery

The California Law Revision Commission seeks public comment on its tentative recommendation relating to nonsubstantive reorganization of the civil discovery statute.

Most of the key statutory provisions governing civil discovery (Code Civ. Proc. §§2016-2036) are extremely long and complex. To make the statute more user-friendly, the commission proposes a nonsubstantive reorganization of these provisions into short sections that closely track the existing language and sequencing.

The tentative recommendation is available from the California Law Revision Commission, 4000 Middlefield Road, Room D-1, Palo Alto, CA 94303-4739. It also is on the commission's Web site, www.clrc.ca.gov, by clicking the "Current Projects" link, then "Discovery," then "Reorganization of Discovery Statute."

The deadline for comments is June 30.

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