California Bar Journal
OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 2000
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YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Positions open on JNE Commission

Active members of the State Bar, former members of the judiciary and members of the public are invited to submit an application for appointment to the 2001-2002 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE). Terms begin June 1. Established under Government Code 12011.5, JNE evaluates all candidates who are under consideration for a judicial appointment by the government. It is composed of attorneys and public members (non-lawyers or attorneys not admitted to practice in California) who represent a broad cross-section of California’s legal profession and general population.

Commissioners serve terms of approximately one year and may serve up to three consecutive terms.

Information about the commission, qualifications and time commitment, as well as the application form, will be available on the bar’s website, www.calbar.org, by mid-December, or earlier from the bar’s appointments office at 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105; (phone) 415/538-2299; or (fax) 415/538-2180.

State Bar seeks applicants for Judicial Council, ABA House of Delegates

The State Bar is seeking lawyer applicants for positions on the California Judicial Council and the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates.

One three-year position is open on the 21-member Judicial Council. The time commitment is about 300 hours per year, meetings usually are held six to seven times a year and travel expenses are reimbursed. The term of the new appointee will begin Sept. 15, 2001.

Five delegates and two alternates also will be appointed by the State Bar to the ABA House of Delegates. Each delegate serves a two-year term, beginning next August, and the alternates serve for one year.

One of the five delegates will be a young lawyer representative, who must be under 35 before the terms begin Aug. 8, 2001.

Delegates are expected to attend year-year and annual ABA meetings, participate in conference calls prior to the meetings and pay their own travel expenses.

Applications for the positions will be available online by Dec. 15 at www.calbar.org or can be obtained from the bar’s appointments office at 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105; (phone) 415/538-2299; or (fax) 415/538-2180.

The deadline for all applications is Feb. 5, 2001, and the appointments will be announced in April.

Law corporation address changes due next month

California law corporations will receive the 2000 annual report and 2001 renewal form early next month. All previously unreported law corporation address changes should be faxed as soon as possible to the State Bar’s office of certification at 415/538-2180. Questions may be addressed to 415/538-2142.

Five positions open on legal services board

The State Bar is seeking attorneys interested in applying for one of five three-year terms on the Board of Directors of Legal Services of Northern California. The 38-member board meets five times annually in Sacramento to make policy decisions regarding the operations of the program, which provides free quality legal services in civil matters to low-income people in 23 northern California counties.

Applicants must practice or reside in Sacramento, Yolo or Solano counties.

Applicants must submit a letter describing the reasons they should be appointed, indicating their county of residence, and a resume outlining work experience, community activity and educational background. Applications should be submitted to Denise Teraoka, Office of Legal Services, 180 Howard St., San Francisco 94105, 415/538-2545.

The deadline is Jan. 9, 2001.

Fee arb training scheduled Jan. 11 in San Mateo

Recent developments in fee arbitration will be discussed at a fee arbitrator training program sponsored by the State Bar’s Commit-tee on Mandatory Fee Arbitration Jan. 11. The free training, which offers 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, will take place from 5 - 8 p.m. at the Villa Hotel, 4000 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo.

Volunteers who arbitrate and mediate attorney-client fee disputes for mandatory fee arbitration programs throughout the state are invited to the training, as well as those interested in becoming fee arbitrators.

To register, contact the San Mateo County Bar Association, 650/363-4230. For additional information, contact the State Bar’s fee arbitration office at 415/538-2023.

New legal services directory is available

The 2000-2001 edition of the California Legal Services Directory is available for $25. The directory, prepared by the State Bar’s Office of Program Develop-ment, contains listings of all the Legal Services Trust Fund recipients (legal services programs), as well as the support centers, State Bar certified lawyer referral services, dispute resolution programs, and family law facilitators.

To obtain a copy, send a check for $25 to: State Bar of California, Office of Program Development —  Direc-tory, 180 Howard St., San Francisco CA 94105-1639.

Orders by telephone (415/538-2176) or e-mail (kimberly.warmsley@calsb.org) are accepted.

MCLE compliance due Feb. 1

MCLE compliance cards were to be mailed early this month to lawyers whose last names begin with the letters A through M, who are required to complete 25 hours of continuing legal education by Feb. 1.

Some members of Groups 1 and 2 who did not comply with 1997 and 1998 deadlines, which were temporarily suspended as a result of litigation before the Supreme Court, must now prove completion of 61 hours of MCLE classes.

Members of Group 1 who did not complete the previously required 36 hours by Feb. 1, 1998, have until Feb. 1, 2001, to complete 61 hours. The same deadline applies to members of Group 2 who did not finish 36 hours by Feb. 1, 1997.

Deadlines were adjusted by the State Bar Board of Governors following the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in the Warden case.

Attorneys with questions about compliance may contact 415/538-2100 for information.

Bar revises 13 consumer information pamphlets

Thirteen consumer education pamphlets, dealing with topics including rent, divorce and debts,  have been updated and revised by the State Bar.

Three pamphlets have been translated into Spanish, five are available in hard copy and eight are online at www.calbar.org. Order forms for obtaining print copies of the pamphlets are not online, but information may be obtained by calling 415/538-2280.

The bar hopes to translate some pamphlets into additional languages next year.

The pamphlets online are:

How Can Find and Hire the Right Lawyer?;

How Do I Use the Small Claims Court?;

What Should I Know About Divorce and Custody?;

What Should I Know Before I Rent?;

What Should I Know if I Am Arrested?;

What Should I Do if I Have an Auto Accident?;

What Can I Do If I Can’t Pay my Debts? and

Can the Law Help Protect Me From Domestic Violence?

What Should I Know before I Buy a House and What Should I Know Before I Sign, a pamphlet explaining contracts, are available in printed form. The rent, small claims and debt pamphlets have been translated into Spanish and also are available in printed form.

Inquiries about pamphlets dealing with wills, trusts and estate planning should be directed to 415/538-2206.

Judicial Council takes action on sealed records, court interpreters

Acting on a Supreme Court ruling about public access to civil proceedings, the Judicial Council adopted new procedures to guide California courts in handling requests to seal trial and appellate court records.

The new procedures will establish uniformity in an area where court practices have varied throughout the state. The new rules state, “Unless confidentiality is required by law, trial court records are presumed to be open.”

In its decision in NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV) v. Superior Court (1999), the court held that the right of public access to trials applies to civil as well as criminal proceedings. It also provided guidance on the proper standard for courts to apply in deciding whether to seal documents filed in court as the basis for adjudication.

In another action, for the first time since 1993, the Judicial Council designated five new languages for the Court Interpreter Certification Program. They are Armenian, Cambodian, Mandarin, Russian and Punjabi.

The additions are based on the results of a study of language needs and interpreter use in California courts which found, among other things, that 56 of the state’s 58 counties use interpreter services and that 4 percent of the state’s 33.4 million residents speak no English at all.