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Nominations sought for legal services awards

The State Bar is seeking nominations for awards honoring members of the legal community who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to the profession. Complete details, including selection criteria, categories and nomination forms, are available at>about the bar>awards. The deadline for submitting nominations is March 16.

Awards will be presented in the following categories:

  • President’s Pro Bono Service Awards recognize California attorneys who have provided or enabled the direct provision of legal services to poor persons or to organizations whose primary purpose is to provide legal services to the poor, free-of-charge, without expectation of compensation from the client. The awards are given in eight categories.
  • Loren Miller Legal Services Award, the bar’s highest honor, is given annually to a lawyer who has demonstrated long-term commitment to legal services and who has personally done significant work in extending legal services to the poor.
  • Jack Berman Award of Achievement is given by the California Young Lawyers Association in recognition of the achievements in public service of a young lawyer or a lawyer in the first five years of practice.
  • Diversity Awards recognize outstanding efforts made by a bar association, law firm and an individual attorney in promoting diversity in the legal profession.
  • Education Pipeline Award recognizes outstanding efforts of law-related educational programs that train and support students to become interested in the judicial system and careers in the law.

Board of governors has five vacancies

April 1 is the last day to file nominating petitions for one of five open seats on the State Bar Board of Governors.

There are vacancies in Districts One (Butte, Colusa, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties); Three (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties); Five (Fresno, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Stanislaus and Tulare counties); Seven (Los Angeles County); and Nine (Imperial and San Diego counties).

Ballots will be mailed April 30 and the last day to vote is June 30.

Any active member of the State Bar who maintains his or her principal office for the practice of law within the district in which there is a vacancy is eligible to run for a seat on the board.

Lawyer members are elected for three-year terms and will assume their offices at the conclusion of the 2009 Annual Meeting.

Complete information about the election is available at; click on Board of Governors 2009 elections in the left-hand menu.

Fee arbitrator training slated for Los Angeles

A free training session for prospective and current volunteer attorneys who arbitrate attorney-client fee disputes for mandatory fee arbitration programs through the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the State Bar will be held March 26 in Los Angeles from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. The training offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of legal ethics. Non-lawyers also are encouraged to attend.

Speakers will address recent developments in fee arbitration, including how to write an enforceable award, arbitrator disclosure requirements and the statute of limitations.

To reserve a space, contact Gemma George at 213-896-6441 or The training will be held at the bar association’s office at 1055 W. 7th St., 27th floor, Los Angeles. For additional information (not RSVP), contact Jill Sperber at 415/538-2023.

Legal specialist exam scheduled for August

The exam to become certified as a legal specialist will be administered Aug. 9. The State Bar certifies specialists in 11 fields of law: admiralty and maritime, appellate, bankruptcy, criminal, estate planning, trust and probate, family, franchise and distribution, immigration and nationality, legal malpractice, taxation and workers’ compensation law.

Currently there are 4,200 legal specialists in California.

In addition to passing the exam, specialists must demonstrate a high level of experience in the specialty field, fulfill ongoing education requirements, and be favorably evaluated by other attorneys and judges familiar with their work. Certification lasts for five years.

To obtain complete information and to register for the exam, go to

The registration deadline is June 26. The fee is $300 for writing or $350 if using a laptop. The exam will be given at the Westin at San Francisco Airport or the Marriott in downtown Los Angeles.

Nominations sought for the Aranda Award

The California Commission on Access to Justice is seeking nominations for the 2009 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award. The honor is presented annually to a trial judge, appellate judge or commissioner who deserves recognition for efforts to improve access to the judicial system for low- and moderate-income Californians.

The award is given by the Judicial Council, the State Bar and the California Judges Association.

The deadline for submission of nominees is May 1.

Complete details are available at>about the bar>awards>aranda or by contacting Chris Zupanovich at 415-538-2534 or

Seniors guide updated and reprinted in May

The State Bar’s popular Seniors & the Law: A Guide for Maturing Californians will be published again this spring and distributed free throughout the state.

First printed in 2003, Seniors & the Law is a free, comprehensive guide aimed at helping seniors and their grown children make sense of a wide range of law-related issues and rights that affect California’s seniors in their day-to-day lives.

With an estimated 5.5 million residents age 60 or older, California is the most senior-populated state in the nation — and the ranks are growing. But so, too, are the many laws related to seniors and the many programs geared for them.

To pre-order the new copies of Seniors & the Law, e-mail and state the number desired (i.e., 100 copies, 200 copies), the language (English or Spanish) and provide a full name and complete mailing address (no P.O. boxes). Orders will be shipped in May.

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 at After registering with My State Bar Profile, go to “Account Information” and select “Update my mailing preferences (opt out).”

Members also may e-mail their opt out request to

Include your bar number.

Hong Kong CLE program

The Litigation and Real Property Law sections are planning a continuing legal education program in Hong Kong the first week of November 2009.

If you are interested in receiving information please call or e-mail Kristina Robledo at or 415-538-2467.

Opening your own firm

“The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office,” which offers tips on everything from creating a business plan to customer service to using technology to best advantage, is now available from the State Bar.

The 602-page guide, published with the help of the California Young Lawyers Association, State Bar staff and the Law Practice Management and Technology and Solo and Small Firm sections, aims to walk lawyers through the law practice process as well as ask the right questions to determine whether a lawyer is a good prospect for starting a solo practice.

The book is broken into 11 chapters, including creating a business plan and customer service.

The guide may be ordered at the “Sections Bookstore” at

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