State Bar of California California Bar Journal
Home Page Official Publication of the State Bar of California December2002
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Torn Courtroom chairs

Neglect wears down courthouses
One prisoner escaped through a window on his way up a courthouse stairway. Another scrambled to temporary freedom over a court's chain-link fence. And yet another broke a bailiff's arm while trying to escape down a public court hallway.

Three public members appointed to bar board
Three members of the public, two college professors and a police psychologist, were reappointed to the board of governors last month.

Only 50.5 percent pass July bar exam
Just over half the applicants who took the July bar examination passed, the Committee on Bar Examiners reported last month.

Few who need legal help get it
California lags far behind comparable states in funding legal services for the poor, a situation so dire that only 28 percent of the civil legal needs of the state's poor and lower-income residents are being addressed.

Court clarifies fee split rule
The California Supreme Court sent a message to the state's lawyers last month: follow the rules and get your fee agreements signed.

Bar committee members sought
There are many reasons why attorneys volunteer to serve on a State Bar committee, commission or board, but one reason that stands out is an opportunity to help better the profession. For attorneys looking for a chance to make a difference, the State Bar currently is seeking applicants for some 200 positions on more than three dozen State Bar committees, commissions and boards for the 2003-2004 committee year.

41 receive Foundation scholarships
They donated their time to battered women, the elderly and immigrants. They volunteered their services to environmental causes, to troubled juveniles, the homeless and the disabled. The organizations benefiting from their good will and fledgling expertise are too numerous to list. For their efforts, 41 law students at 16 California law schools were awarded scholarships by the Foundation of the State Bar this year.

2003 membership fee lobbying, optional program deductions
As a requirement of bar membership, California lawyers must pay statutorily mandated membership fees. The fees are used primarily to fund core functions of lawyer discipline and regulation, but a small perentage has also been used to further the State Bar's statutory charge to provide assistance to improve the administration of justice.

Ethics update
Recent ethics opinions from the State Bar of California, Los Angeles Couty Bar Association and related state legislation.

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