California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - January 2000
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News Briefs
Former Unruh aide appointed to serve on State Bar board
Ardaiz, O'Leary named jurists of the year for '99
Judicial Administration fellowships
Public law section online library
Board meets Feb. 4-5
51.2 percent pass July '99 bar exam
Board hires search firm for new bar chief
Litigation section offers MCLE week in legal London
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Trials Digest
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From the President - Reciprocity reform: The future is now
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For most Americans, our system is a failure
Ethics 2000: On target, or lost in space
Letters to the Editor
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Public Comment
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MCLE Self-Study
Of Counsel: Avoiding Conflicts
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Important Information About Your 2000 Membership Fee
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You Need to Know
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Apply to serve on a bar committee
Bar seeks applicants for ABA delegates
Judge evaluation positions open
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Ethics Byte - Warding off the foul tort in a new year
Bankruptcy attorney disbarred after abandoning clients
Technology 2000: A new century dawns with the goal of higher productivity
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Technology 2000We made it to the new millennium  without the sky falling or the legal system collapsing. Firm administrators, in particular, are relieved that their planning paid off. So what are California law firms’ technology plans now that they have vanquished the Y2K bug?

Dana ShultzThe following is what 11 firms from throughout the state are thinking about:

The highest priority is to improve productivity, especially for attorneys. For Wilke, Fleury, Hoffelt, Gould & Birney in Sacramento, this means putting time entry and legal calendaring on lawyers’ PCs.

According to administrator Larry Hartmann, the 27-attorney firm wants to “reduce duplication of effort.” Giving attorneys the power to enter and retrieve data on their own will free up secretarial and accounting time. The ultimate goal: Serve Wilke Fleury’s medical malpractice, commercial litigation and health care clients as efficiently as possible.

Customizing software

Lyon & Lyon, a six-office, 130-lawyer intellectual property firm headquartered in Los Angeles, will focus on its prosecution department, litigation support and records management. Early last year, Paul Halpern, director of IT (information technology), started looking for off-the-shelf software that the firm could customize to meet its needs.

Halpern says the challenge is that “in addition to imaging, we need a pretty strong workflow product tied in that any department can use.”  Lyon & Lyon found imaging software quite readily, but finding the right workflow product will require a lot more work. User departments are actively working with Halpern to successfully complete this second step.

Ron White, administrator at 12-attorney Moss & Enochian in Redding, changed the firm’s network operating system from Unix to Windows NT last year. The major reason: To run a broader range of application software. White notes that with the latest application programs, “we will be able to deliver services more efficiently” to the firm’s insurance defense, municipal law, probate and estate planning clients.

Several firms are considering speech recognition software. Among them is five-attorney Swarner & Fitzgerald in Riverside, which has a probate, estate planning, family law and corporate practice.

Administrator Joannie Campbell asserts that “clients want value for their dollar and speed.” Accordingly, Swarner & Fitzgerald also is looking for document assembly software to better use existing work product. Not only will speech recognition and document assem-


In her death, Rose Bird still sparks controversy
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Rose Bird, California’s first female chief justice and the only top jurist to be recalled by the state’s voters, died last month of breast cancer. She was 63.

Widely praised for her unwavering adherence to her principles, Bird was just as widely villified as a symbol of “soft on crime,” anti-death penalty liberalism, probably the defining issue in the recall which led to her 1986 ouster after almost 10 years as chief justice.

“Rose Bird was a hard-working, dedicated public servant and jurist,” said Gov. Gray Davis in a statement. “While we always didn’t agree, I greatly admired her


Board mandates two-thirds vote, twice, in backing any legislation
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In an effort to respond to concerns about its lobbying efforts, the State Bar last month approved procedures requiring two separate “super majority” votes by the board of governors before backing any legislation.

Under the new procedure, the board must first decide, by a two-thirds margin, whether any legislative proposal it is considering complies with restrictions imposed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Keller v. State Bar of California, limiting the bar’s political activities.