California Bar Journal
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California Bar Journal

The State Bar of California


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Front Page - September 1998
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Need info about bar members? Look on the net
Western State law school wins provisional approval for ABA accreditation
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You Need to Know
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From the President - A privilege gone awry
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In defense of opinion
Thomas can think as he chooses
Time to drain the 'BOG'
Let's build a stronger forum
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Letters to the Editor
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Trials Digest
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Legal Tech - 10 reasons to ignore 2000 problem
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New Products & Services
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Law Practice - When mediating, let your imagination run loose
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MCLE Self-Study
The Internet and Global Implications
Self-Assessment Test
MCLE Calendar of Events
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Ethics Byte - 'He said, she said' rule for sex
Attorney disbarred after investing client's assets
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Annual Meeting
Did you know these Monterey Peninsula facts?
Scenic, legal visions on the menu
Four vie to lead embattled State Bar
11 seek five seats on bar board
District 2: Three-way race in capital and environs
District 4: Unopposed in San Francisco, Albers is ready
District 7, Office 1: 3 seek southern seat...
District 7, Office 2: ...and also in Los Angeles...
District 3: Two-way race develops in South, East Bay region


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Let's build a stronger forum
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Caught in the middle of legislative wrangling over the State Bar is the institution of the Conference of Delegates.

As one of the primary targets of the governor’s veto message in October, the fate of the conference was set on a path separate from the bar in the Hertzberg bill which was crafted to answer the governor’s complaints.

In that legislation, any funding of the conference from mandatory dues would have ended July 1, 1998, except as required by contracts entered into prior to Jan. 8, 1998.

With the endorsement of this legislation by the board of governors in January, the State Bar staff developed a mindset that the conference would indeed be separate by July 1 and acted accordingly.

Thus, plans for the Annual Meeting in October were made which called for an extra charge to attend the conference in addition to the base registration fee.

This plan was opposed by the executive committee as an unfair penalty on the conference, which is still part of the State Bar and the Annual Meeting.

The board agreed and adopted a fee plan for the annual meeting calling for a pre-registration fee of $225 for all participants, including conference registrants.

However, it is clear that under any legislative plan enacted by the legislature and signed by the governor, the conference will be separated from the State Bar.

In order to deal with this harsh reality, the executive committee has been working with CALB--the California Association of Local Bars--and COSBA —the California Organization of Small Bar Associations--to develop a voluntary statewide bar association able to assume the task of providing a legislative forum for attorneys throughout our state to come together to debate issues of law and lobby those issues with the legislature.

At a mid-year meeting in February, a working group with the title "The Future of the Profession Committee"--FOPCOM--was formed to seek a consensus for the mission and structure of such a voluntary statewide bar association.

A further meeting was held May 26, when the initial proposal for this "new bar" was presented to local bar leaders from throughout the state and other interested parties, including representatives from the sections of the State Bar.

Copies of the FOPCOM proposal are in circulation, at the request of the executive committee, to all delegations registered with the conference and to all other interested bar associations throughout the state.

The executive committee is committed to organizing and conducting a conference of delegates in October and in the future.

To that end, we have agreed to bifurcate the conference in October to conduct the regular business of the conference and to serve as a forum for the establishment and refinement of the "new bar" as is necessary.

We urge all concerned to study the proposal for a new bar, to present your ideas and to make your commitment to the future of the work of the conference through a new statewide association.

Working together as a team, we will see the conference, as the forum for our profession in this state, emerge from this crisis as an even stronger and more effective voice for attorneys and our interests in Sacramento.

Matthew St. George is the chair-elect of the Conference of Delegates Executive Committee.