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Applications available for JNE Commission

Active California attorneys, former members of the judiciary and members of the public who are interested in serving on the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE Commission) are invited to submit an application to the State Bar. The application deadline is June 1.

The JNE Commission evaluates all candidates who are under consideration for a judicial appointment by the governor. It is composed of lawyers and public members who represent a broad cross-section of California’s legal profession and general population. Appointed by the board of governors, the volunteer commission does not nominate or appoint judges but investigates candidates while maintaining strict confidentiality.

Commissioners serve terms of approximately one year and may serve up to three consecutive terms. Each commission member is also subject to a criminal background check by the state Department of Justice and the FBI.

Information about the commission and time commitment can be found online or from the bar’s appointments office: 415-538-2318; fax 415-538-2255.

The board of governors will make the appointments in July. Terms begin next February.

Ballots to be mailed this month in board election

Ballots will be mailed at the end of this month to eligible voters in the five State Bar districts with vacancies on the board of governors. The five openings are 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 online.

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

Annual statewide ethics symposium slated for May

The 13th Annual Statewide Ethics Symposium, focusing this year on “Attorney Responsibilities: The Client and Beyond,” will be held May 2 at the University of San Diego School of Law. Attorneys in all practice areas who are interested in cutting-edge ethics issues are invited to attend.

Topics will include the line between zealous representation and unethical conduct, the ethics of trial publicity, top 10 errors on intake and engagement letters, and an update on the work of the Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law, will deliver the keynote address.

Complete information about the symposium is available online or by contacting Lauren McCurdy at 415-538-2107.

Fee arb trainings in April

The State Bar Committee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration has scheduled four fee arbitration trainings this month in Fresno, Visalia, Woodland Hills and Santa Barbara. Each offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including an hour of legal ethics. They are open to volunteers who arbitrate attorney-client fee disputes through the local bar or State Bar fee arb programs. All are free with the exception of the Visalia training, which includes $20 for lunch.

The trainings will cover topics including how to write an enforceable award, statute of limitations, disclosure requirements and conflicts of interest.

The training schedule is:

  • April 23, the Downtown Club, Fresno, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Call 559-264-2619 or e-mail or
  • April 24, Fuggazzi’s, Visalia, noon - 3 p.m. Reserve space with a $20 lunch payment mailed by April 21 to Tulare County Bar Association, 703 West Center Ave., Visalia; call 559-732-2513 or e-mail
  • April 29, San Fernando Valley Bar Association, Woodland Hills, noon - 3 p.m. Call Jennifer Jimenez at 818-227-0490, ext. 110 or e-mail A box lunch will be provided.
  • April 30, Santa Barbara College of Law, 2 - 5 p.m. Call 805-569-5511 or e-mail by noon April 28 to reserve a space.

For further information (not RSVP), call 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 and the Marriott in downtown Los Angeles.

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 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 guide may be ordered at the “Sections Bookstore” at

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