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Make a difference — volunteer for a bar board

If you are looking for a chance to make a difference, the State Bar currently is seeking applicants for approximately 200 positions on more than three dozen committees, commissions and boards. Would-be volunteers have a wide range of options, from committees dealing with access and fairness issues, to executive committees focused on particular areas of the law, to legal specialization advisory commissions. Some committees require special qualifications.

The application deadline is Feb. 2 and terms, mostly for three years, begin next Sept. 13.

“It is certainly important and critical to the operations of the bar to have as many applications as we can obtain from attorneys who would be willing to serve,” said board of governors vice president John Dutton, who chairs the board’s Volunteer Involvement Committee.

“It’s particularly important,” he added, “to try to get younger attorneys involved in State Bar activities as well as solo and small firm lawyers.”

Applicants must be willing to volunteer their time, expertise, experience and perspective. Although not paid for their services, they are reimbursed for approved travel expenses such as mileage and airfare.

Nor should attorneys hesitate about applying to the same committee more than once. Often, there are simply too many qualified applicants for a limited number of positions, and many committee members are not selected the first time they apply.

Among committees seeking applicants are:

  • Courts/administration of justice committees which review proposed changes in civil procedure, ADR, appellate and federal rules, procedures and practices, as well as comment on proposed legislation governing these issues.
  • Insurance committees, which act as counsel to the board of governors on insurance matters and oversee the bar’s member group insurance programs, including life, AD&D, disability, long-term care, workers’ compensation, business office package and professional liability.
  • Regulatory committees such as the Committee of Bar Examiners, Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration, and the Legal Specialization board, which are established by statute and oversee mandated admission, arbitration and certification programs of the State Bar.
  • The Council on Access and Fairness, which is devoted to increasing diversity in the legal profession.

In addition to the positions on committees, commissions and boards, the bar is seeking applicants for the ABA House of Delegates and the Judicial Council (see p. 12).

The application form and detailed committee information are available at the State Bar’s Web site at (select left-hand menu links to Attorney Resources and to Committees and Commissions). Or request an application from the bar’s appointments office by phone 415/538-2318 or fax 415/538-2255.

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