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Judicial Council, ABA House need volunteers

The State Bar is seeking applicants for two positions on the Judicial Council and for five appointments to the ABA House of Delegates, including the young lawyer delegate.                      

The Judicial Council appointments begin Sept. 15, 2005, and expire Sept. 14, 2008. Meetings are held six to seven times a year; the annual time commitment is about 300 hours for meetings and assignments. Members are reimbursed for approved travel by the Judicial Council. In making the appointments, the bar board of governors will consider the applicants’ demonstrated leadership skills and ability to effectively represent the lawyer perspective on the council.

In 2005, the terms of five State Bar delegates to the ABA House of Delegates expire. One of the five seats is the young lawyer delegate, who must be less than 35 years old before his or her term begins (i.e., Aug. 9, 2005). The ABA delegates each serve a two-year term from Aug. 9, 2005, to Aug. 14, 2007. 

Each State Bar delegate must be an ABA member in good standing throughout his or her tenure as a delegate, and each delegate is required to pay their own travel expenses. State Bar delegates may be reappointed but can serve no more than three consecutive terms. They are expected to attend the ABA midyear and annual meetings as well as participate in conference calls. All members are encouraged to become broadly participant in ABA activities in order to fully represent the interests of California attorneys. The State Bar seeks applicants who are knowledgeable about the ABA Board of Governors, who possess leadership and other skills to be successful delegation members, and/or who have substantial bar experience, especially with the ABA.

Deadline for applications is Jan. 18.

Applications must be submitted to the State Bar’s Appointments Office, 180 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, or by fax, 415-538-2255. Further information is available at the State Bar Web site,; select links to Committees and Commissions and to Other Entity Appointments. Applicants may also contact the Appointments Office at 415-538-2299.

Dues bills mailed Nov. 15

2005 fee statements for all California lawyers — active and inactive — were mailed Nov. 15. Dues for active lawyers are $390 and the fee for inactive lawyers is $50. The dues must be paid by Feb. 1.

As in previous years, lawyers have the option of contributing to the Foundation of the State Bar, the Conference of Delegates of California Bar Associations and the California Supreme Court Historical Society. Active attorneys may deduct $5 from the dues bill for the bar’s lobbying efforts in Sacramento and $5 for the elimination of bias fund.

Lower income lawyers are eligible for a hardship reduction of their fee by either 25 or 50 percent, depending on their income.

The dues are authorized by the state legislature and set by the State Bar Board of Governors.

Dues can be paid online through the My State Bar Profile feature at Questions may be addressed to or by calling 415-538-2360.

MCLE compliance — Group 3 is next

Attorneys whose last names begin with N-Z (Group 3) face a Feb. 1 MCLE compliance deadline. Lawyers in that group must complete 25 hours of continuing education courses, including four hours of legal ethics, one hour of elimination of bias and one hour of substance abuse prevention.

Twelve and a half hours may be self-study.

Compliance information is available at > Attorney Resources > MCLE. You may now calculate and submit your compliance card through the My State Bar Profile feature on the Web site.

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

Dues waivers extended

Because of the ongoing military engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, the board of governors voted recently to extend, on an emergency basis, the waiver of dues for reservists called to active duty in those countries for 2005 and 2006. The rule change is out for a 90-day public comment period.

The attorney or a member of their firm or family may submit a copy of the member’s military orders to apply for the waiver. Materials should be sent to Membership Billing, State Bar of California, 180 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105-1639, fax to 415-538-2361 or e-mail

Free MCLE for all attorneys

In the interest of educating California attorneys about ways to avoid malpractice claims, the State Bar’s Committee on Profession-al Liability Insurance will provide two free MCLE seminars next month.

Topics covered include client intake and selection, conflicts of interest, independent contracting, ethical obligations of associates and law office technology. The seminars will be conducted by Anthony E. Davis, an expert on the “law of lawyering,” and offer four hours of MCLE credit in legal ethics.

The four-hour course will be offered Jan. 18 in San Francisco and Jan. 19 in Los Angeles. Check the bar Web site,, for specific seminar locations. Pre-registration is required to guarantee seating.

The seminars are open to all attorneys on a first-come first-served basis. Those wishing to attend should register in advance at or call 415-538-2201 for more information.

July bar exam pass rate dips to 48.2 percent

Only 48.2 percent of the would-be attorneys who took the July bar exam passed, continuing a years-long decline in the pass rate.

The Committee of Bar Examiners announced last month that 3,887 of the 8,062 applicants passed. Of those, 68.5 percent were first-time test takers. If the successful applicants meet other requirements for admission, their numbers will push State Bar membership over 200,000.

The pass rate for the July bar exam has declined every year since 1997, when it hit 62.9 percent. Last year, 49.4 percent passed the July exam and in 2002, 50.5 percent succeeded.

The committee also announced that 131 (38.8 percent) of the 338 lawyers who took the attorneys’ exam passed. That number declined dramatically from the 45.5 percent who passed in July 2003.

First-time test takers who attended ABA-approved law schools in California had the highest pass rate — 69.4 percent — and those who went to ABA-approved schools outside California had a pass rate of 65.8 percent.

Opt out of list sales

Attorneys who wish to remove their names from lists the State Bar provides to qualified outside entities may do so by logging on to Member Login on the home page of the State Bar’s Web site, After registering with My State Bar Profile, go to “Account Information” and select “Update my mailing preferences (opt out).”

As an alternative, members may e-mail their opt out request to Include your bar number.

The bar has a policy under which members’ names are provided at cost to a restricted list of outside entities that meet certain criteria. The names are provided for a one-time use to, among others, MCLE providers, the Foundation of the State Bar, local bars and bar-approved insurance providers.

Toll-free number for consumer pamphlets

A new toll-free telephone number — 888-875-LAWS — has been created to help people obtain information about the State Bar’s consumer education guides and pamphlets, including ordering information. The bar offers three guides and 19 pamphlets.

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