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One-stop shopping for legal services users

A new Web site- www.LawHelpCalifornia.org - was launched last month that provides information about no- or low-cost legal aid to individuals wishing to navigate the legal system on their own.

The legal services Web site provides a database of legal aid services, legal education information and self-help materials and links to helpful resources.

The information is broken down by topics so that users can determine which agencies handle particular legal issues. Among the topics are housing, consumer information, families, immigration, domestic violence, employment and disability.

The information is meant to be helpful to both the public and to the lawyers and advocates trying to assist them.

The Web site came about as a result of backlogs in courts created by the large number of individuals representing themselves. Funded by a technology initiative grant from the Legal Services Corp., the Web site is the result of a collaborative effort of various agencies, courts and bar associations. The State Bar is a partner in the effort through its program development office.

Among the services offered on the site are online libraries, training materials, model pleadings, calendar and news pages, postings of new cases, court materials, links to social services and links to court websites that assist unrepresented litigants in completing forms and pleadings.

California Indian Legal Services and the Public Interest Clearinghouse coordinate and maintain the Web site.

Compliance Group 1 faces Feb. 1 MCLE deadline

Members of Compliance Group 1 (last names A-G) must complete 25 hours of MCLE credit by Feb. 1, 2004. Of that total, 12 1/2 hours can be completed through self-study courses.

All active attorneys must complete four hours of legal ethics study, one hour of substance abuse prevention and one hour of elimination of bias in the legal profession.

Full details of the requirements are provided on the State Bar's Web site, www.calbar.ca.gov. Click on "MCLE" on the right hand menu.

Need life insurance?

California attorneys are eligible to purchase competitively priced life insurance policies through the State Bar's Life Insurance Program. Premium rates are based on an experience-rated model with its own reserves and are therefore not subject to the volatilities of the general insurance market.

The program, underwritten by a top-rated carrier, is approved by the State Bar Group Insurance Committee. Thanks to a Term Premium Credit (TPC), members have historically enjoyed decreases in their net premium costs. The TPC is not guaranteed and could increase in future years, but has not done so since it was created in 1979.

For more information, go to www.StateBarLife.com or call a life insurance specialist at Acordia, 1-800-648-1600.

Honorary degree for Herman

Former State Bar President James Herman received an honorary LLM from California Western School of Law in San Diego at its commencement ceremonies earlier this year. Herman, who received his law degree from the school in 1975, delivered the commencement address.

"Jim's leadership and prominent legal career set an excellent example for all new lawyers," said Dean Steven R. Smith.

Herman, a partner with Reickert Pfau, Pyle, McRoy & Herman LLP in Santa Barbara, is a former member of the law school's Board of Trustees. His presidency ended last month.

Monterey fee arbitration training scheduled

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at a November training program in Monterey sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration.

The free training offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including 1.75 hours of legal ethics, and is open to State Bar fee arbitrators, those from Monterey County and lay people and lawyers interested in joining the program.

Among the topics for discussion are how to write an enforceable award, conflicts of interest, disclosure requirements and how to control the proceeding.

The session will be held Nov. 5, from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the Monterey College of Law, 404 W. Franklin St. To reserve a space, call Elaine Richelieu at 831-663-6955.

For additional information, call Jill Sperber, director of the State Bar Office of Mandatory Fee Arbitration, at 415-538-2023.

How to order Seniors & The Law brochure

To order Seniors & The Law: A Guide for Maturing Californians, send an e-mail to barcomm@calbar.ca.gov and state your name, complete mailing address (P.O. Boxes are not acceptable), the number of copies ordered and choice of "English," "Spanish" or "Chinese" version for each number, and a daytime phone number.

If you do not have access to e-mail, please include the required information above and send to The State Bar of California, Attn: Seniors & the Law, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639.

Opt out of list sales

Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State Bar sells to outside entities may do so by e-mailing a request to memrec@calbar.ca.gov. Include your bar number.

The bar has a policy under which members' names are sold to outside entities that meet certain criteria. The restricted lists include, among others, MCLE providers, the Foundation of the State Bar, local bars and bar-approved insurance providers.

E-briefs offer State Bar news updates

"E-briefs," a short summary of recent news developments or announcements of interest to lawyers, is available to all attorneys or other interested parties. The mailings are provided on a timely basis.

If you wish to be put on our internet mailing list, please provide your e-mail address to barcomm@calbar.ca.gov.

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