California Bar Journal
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Survey finds bar makeup is shifting, but slowly
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While 2000 U.S. Census data shows whites are California's new minority, lawyers here are still predominantly white and male, according to an updated demographic profile of the state's attorneys.

But their hold appears to be slipping: State Bar membership among people of color nearly doubled since 1991, climbing to 17 percent. And the number of women rose from 26 percent to 32 percent of the profession in the past decade.

Other highlights of the survey, conducted by telephone over a five-week period last summer, include:

$100,000 is the dividing line for income, with half of California's lawyers earning less than $100,000 per year, and half earning more. The largest percentage - 34 percent - reported income of between $50,000 and $100,000. Men still earn somewhat more than women.

Internet use is widespread. A full 81 percent report they use the internet in their legal practice and 87 percent of that work is devoted to case law research. Of those who knew the type of internet connection used by their office, 72 percent use a high-speed connection, a number substantially higher than average for other internet users. Sixty-one percent said their firm or organization has its own web site.


Unlawful practice hits vulnerable immigrants
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A Chinese couple in San Francisco spent $40,000 in a two-year quest for green cards, but their life savings instead bought them deportation proceedings.

Where the money went, their attorney says, is straight into a paralegal's pocket.

"They were made to believe they were paying this money to various government agencies, but there is a lengthy paper trail of checks being written by my clients and then cashed by this (paralegal), to the tune of $40,000," attorney Steve Baugh-man said. "They ended up losing their immigration status and they weren't even told about it." 

The woman, now in her 50s, suffered several forced abortions while living in China - a solid asylum claim. But the chance to file such claims with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service evaporates after one year, and Baughman says the paralegal never prompted the couple to pursue asylum.

 "The whole reason they waited too long was this highly corrupt paralegal kept telling them they had legal status," he said. "It's a gut-wrenching example of the damage unscrupulous people can do."

An effort to stamp out unauthorized practice and fraud in immigration law has been taking shape in recent years, with private attorneys, prosecutors and legislators joining the fray. Minority bars in southern California solicited the aid of the Los Angeles district attorney's office and


Board sets bar dues at $390
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Staff Writer
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A revitalized State Bar and a faltering economy combined to force the bar to raise its dues next year to $390, a move  approved by the board of governors last month. Despite the $45 increase from this year, the dues remain well below the $478 fee charged from 1991-96.

"This budget preserves the status quo and contains no new programs," said bar President Karen Nobumoto. "This budget is lean and mean."

Executive Director Judy Johnson attributed the increase to five factors:

The bar is returning to almost


Former federal judge Moreno joins California Supreme Court
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Staff Writer
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Carlos R. Moreno, born and reared in East Los Angeles and the first in his family to attend college, was sworn in last month as the only Latino justice on the California Supreme Court.

Following his unanimous confirmation by the Commission on Judicial Appointments - appellate Justice Joan Dempsey Klein voted, "Aye, con mucho gusto!" - Moreno took the